Trevathan suspension presents a new question for hearing officer

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The NFL has imposed a two-game suspension on Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan for his illegal hit on Packers receiver Davante Adams. For hearing officer Derrick Brooks, the core question presents a new frontier for the league.

Trevathan becomes the first player the league will try to suspend despite not having prior punishment for illegal hits on his active record. Though he was fined, per the league, for an illegal hit several years ago, he has no infractions in the relevant 32-game window that determines whether heightened sanctions apply.

The league previously utilized progressive discipline in cases of this nature, starting with fines and eventually expanding to a suspension if the behavior continues. From Trevathan’s perspective, his best argument will be that the NFL’s dramatic break from past precedent should not be affirmed.

From the NFL’s perspective, the suspension reflects an effort by the Competition Committee to encourage more aggressive discipline for certain types of hits. Although the NFL Players Association has a voice in the committee’s offseason examination of the rulebook, the NFLPA may argue on Trevathan’s behalf that a formal agreement to change the disciplinary process is needed in order to allow a suspension for, essentially, a first offense.

Brooks and James Thrash have been jointly appointed and are jointly paid by the NFL and the NFLPA. The hearing officer has final say over whether the punishment will be upheld, reduced, or scrapped entirely.

The Bears face the Vikings and Ravens over the next two weeks. The hearing is set for Tuesday.

44 responses to “Trevathan suspension presents a new question for hearing officer

  1. I agree that the hit was a brutal one, and perhaps unnecessary. I also agree, however, that the rules are the rules, and if the rules say that there shouldn’t be a heightened sanction, because he hasn’t had a similar infraction in the last 32 games, then those are the rules. If the NFL doesn’t like it, then they can take a look at revising that rule in the off-season, but you don’t do it by making an example of a player who has already publicly expressed remorse for the hit. Fine him, and move on.

  2. I can’t stand the Packers, but that hit was down right nasty….who cares if it’s his first offense? That was the equivalent of a hockey player using his stick to hit someone in the face…and honestly, if you’re going to suspend Brady 4 games for deflated footballs, this clown should have had at least an 8 game suspension..he could have ended someones career….

  3. Somehow I don’t see him getting suspended if this game wasn’t the only game that day. The NFL seems to react to primetime exposure more than actual violations. That is my impression at least.

  4. Trevathan likely made that hit on purpose, but I think the fact that only one Bears defender had a hold of Adams by the time Trevathan got there, and Adams was still trying to push forward for more yards, made that brutal hit a little less dirty.

    Does Goodell have the ability to set precedent with his discipline? Yes. But will Trevathan still have a solid argument to reduce his suspension? I think so. Perhaps one game.

  5. Rules are rules. Fine.

    CHANGE THE RULES THEN! TODAY!

    Make the statement, here and now, that hits like that won’t be tolerated.

    Otherwise, I don’t want to hear any more talk about player safety, or making the game safer.

  6. NFL will circle this day as the day they were strict on player safety and Union ect would not let them protect the player. Will be in every court case the union brings forward on player safety.

  7. Interesting how NFLPA’s stance will change on this–supporting a diminished sentence is an endorsement for malicious player-on-player hits that can cause CTE and shorten careers.

  8. Trevathan likely made that hit on purpose, but I think the fact that only one Bears defender had a hold of Adams by the time Trevathan got there, and Adams was still trying to push forward for more yards, made that brutal hit a little less dirty.
    =====

    He was being pushed laterally AT BEST, backwards being closer to the truth.

    Adams forward progress had been stopped.

  9. Packers are one of the protected teams.

    Gotsis tried to rip Carr’s head off while he was on the ground and nothing happens.

    Hilarious inconsistencies.

  10. At some point the league and players union will have to address and agree about whether or not the players are “Valued Assets” or just “Assets”.

    If they are just assets then great, slap the guy on the wrist, next case and by the way hows the talent pool looking because if football fans just liked watching football, the CFL would have higher ratings.

    If both sides truly value the players they have to take a collective stand.

    Both players could have seriously injured. Nip this in the bud.

  11. I find it interesting that the nflpa will go to any major lengths to defend the conduct of one of its union members against another of its members.

    That hit is indefensible. How can you look Adams in the eye and tell him you have his best interest in mind while defending the guy who put you in the hospital?

  12. The problem with this hit is it was intentional and direct to the head. Trevathan saw Adams was stood up and no other place to hit except the head so that’s where he aimed. It was malicious and could’ve been a career ender.

  13. What? Albert Haynesworth was suspended 5 games for stomping on Gurode as his first offense. There is no “precedent” and the league can suspend on first offense if necessary. Who writes this stuff?

  14. If the NFL is going to be arbitrarily harsh and excessive with punishment, the ONE place where it’s appropriate, that will not get major public backlash, is in violent player-safety incidents.

    Once again, we’ll see if the league office has learned anything from their string of debacles.

    The public isn’t pushing for players to be suspended for recreational drug use. They know Deflategate was bunk, and everyone can see the case against Elliott is propped-up at best. But when it comes to danger to an athletes health, if not his life, that’s when you bring down the hammer.

  15. Or how about CB Dante Wesley (mostly just special team player)? 1 game suspension in 2009 for hitting punt returner Clifton Smith, again first offense.

  16. As a fan and observer that hit was dirty. As a player yeah he lead with his helmet but Adams was also still up and no whistle was blown. Would it have been better for him to square his shoulder at him? Honestly where is the line drawn? You either put flags on these guys or you let them play football. You can make an argument that this would have never happened had the refs not called a borderline holding penalty on the Packers the play before in which Adams scored a TD. Had that play stood this hit would not have happened at least not in this game.
    Between the refs, players, owners and league with off field issues, inconsistent punishment, premadonna attitudes, and trying to decipher an incredibly long rules book has me tuning into other things. The greatest game on earth has turned into a circus.

  17. If he was stopped, the refs should have blown the whistle, if not it is the defenders job to get the guy to the ground. And if you look at the hit he hit facemask to facemask, so he “saw what he hit” which is what they are told to do now. If the refs didn’t protect him, then that is on them, not the LB. (and I’m not a Bears or Packers fan)

    PS. football is a violent sport

  18. So if the NFLPA appeals it will mean they are taking the side of Trevathan’s pocketbook rather than Adam’s safety. I thought a union’s first priority was safety but maybe the NFL cares more about it’s players. Same as the concussion issue, the NFLPA was nowhere to be found.

  19. Why does everything have to be so damn difficult. That hit was illegal and unnecesary. The only way the game gets cleaned up is by suspending hits like this.

  20. robkeezy says:
    October 3, 2017 at 1:18 pm
    I agree that the hit was a brutal one, and perhaps unnecessary. I also agree, however, that the rules are the rules, and if the rules say that there shouldn’t be a heightened sanction, because he hasn’t had a similar infraction in the last 32 games, then those are the rules. If the NFL doesn’t like it, then they can take a look at revising that rule in the off-season, but you don’t do it by making an example of a player who has already publicly expressed remorse for the hit. Fine him, and move on.

    ===================================

    I dont totally disagree with you, however, I would like to know your thoughts if Trevathan had paralyzed Adams, or worse yet, killed him. Would you still feel the same way? That the rule is the rule and you can’t suspend because he hasn’t broken that rule in the last 32 games? When is the NFL going to wake, and the fans for that matter, that it shouldn’t take someone getting seriously injured or killed to realize some players just should not be in the league. This from a Bears fan!!!

  21. That’s what happens when you send guys over the middle in the NFL. OC should apologize to Adams.

  22. Understand the result was downright ugly. Felt bad for Adams. But I don’t even think this is really a penalty.

    1) Forward progress was not stopped as the whistle had not been blown. That play was still live.
    2) Hit to the head is only illegal on a defenseless player. And he is not considered a defenseless player in that situation.

    It looked awful, & was possibly dirty. But I still don’t understand what rules were broken.

    And I’ve seen people describing it as the worst hit they’ve ever seen? Really? Does no one remember the James Harrison hit on Mohammed Massaquoi just a couple years ago? It was 100 times worse.

  23. NFL will circle this day as the day they were strict on player safety and Union ect would not let them protect the player. Will be in every court case the union brings forward on player safety.
    ________________-____________________

    In fact. If I were the NFL and this gets overturned, I would that same day issue a statement saying we were trying to make the game safer for players, but the union would not protect the injured player. Get that out there for future litigation.

    Its amazing how the Union protects the criminal, but never the victim. Amazing to me.

  24. savethebs says:
    October 3, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    2) Hit to the head is only illegal on a defenseless player.
    ——————-

    How did the NFL come up with this ridiculousness?

  25. Trevathan’s hit was much worse than Burfict’s in the preseason. Two games seems about right.

  26. upper23 says:
    October 3, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    In fact. If I were the NFL and this gets overturned, I would that same day issue a statement saying we were trying to make the game safer for players, but the union would not protect the injured player. Get that out there for future litigation.
    ——————————

    Would that statement also say that in the interest of player safety, we are dropping Thursday Night Football?

  27. Forward progress was not stopped as the whistle had not been blown. That play was still live.
    ====

    What the heck are you people looking at???

    The play was still live, sure. But his forward progress had clearly stopped. Adams was NOT moving forward.

    Go watch it again.

  28. upper23 says:
    October 3, 2017 at 3:07 pm
    NFL will circle this day as the day they were strict on player safety and Union ect would not let them protect the player. Will be in every court case the union brings forward on player safety.
    ________________-____________________

    In fact. If I were the NFL and this gets overturned, I would that same day issue a statement saying we were trying to make the game safer for players, but the union would not protect the injured player. Get that out there for future litigation.

    Its amazing how the Union protects the criminal, but never the victim. Amazing to me.
    ==============================================================

    Agree 100%%%%%%%%%%.

  29. “And if you look at the hit he hit facemask to facemask”

    I sure didn’t see it that way. Looked to me like Trevathan had his head down and hit Adams with the top of his helmet. Plus he launched himself into Adams. I like good hard hits, but that was definitely not necessary and looked dirty.

  30. murphyslaw40 says:
    October 3, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Who cares how many games they announce the suspension as, it will end up in Federal court anyway.
    ———————

    Aren’t most, if not all of player suspension appealed? The only ones that have ended up in Federal Court are the ones where Roger has been completely incompetent, or suspended a player as part of an elaborate hoax.

  31. stepheni74 says:
    October 3, 2017 at 2:36 pm
    robkeezy says:
    October 3, 2017 at 1:18 pm
    I agree that the hit was a brutal one, and perhaps unnecessary. I also agree, however, that the rules are the rules, and if the rules say that there shouldn’t be a heightened sanction, because he hasn’t had a similar infraction in the last 32 games, then those are the rules. If the NFL doesn’t like it, then they can take a look at revising that rule in the off-season, but you don’t do it by making an example of a player who has already publicly expressed remorse for the hit. Fine him, and move on.

    ===================================

    I dont totally disagree with you, however, I would like to know your thoughts if Trevathan had paralyzed Adams, or worse yet, killed him. Would you still feel the same way? That the rule is the rule and you can’t suspend because he hasn’t broken that rule in the last 32 games? When is the NFL going to wake, and the fans for that matter, that it shouldn’t take someone getting seriously injured or killed to realize some players just should not be in the league. This from a Bears fan!!!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The aftermath should not impact the flag. If officials waited to see if a guy gets up or not before tossing the hanky we would all be rightfully upset. Rules like this should be based on potential effects but the application should be based on what was actually seen DURING the play. IMHO the NFL needs to use their current stance of progressive discipline on inadvertent instances but any hit like that deemed to be intentional should not only merit a suspension but should get an immediate ejection. The college targeting rule is flawed but it works when correctly applied. I understand that the decision by the official is subjective but that is the nature of the job. Allow hard hits but hammer the headhunters. Once a few players are removed from the game and subsequently suspended then they will look to avoid borderline hits.

  32. How is this any worse than the hit Earl Thomas made on Gronk last season?
    =====

    LOL

    Earl hit Gronk right in the numbers.. not even a full second after the ball arrived.

    Trevathon launched himself like a missle and hit Adams on the crown of his helmet.

  33. He should be suspended 6 games. There’s no place in the sport for deliberately trying to hurt someone. Adams was being held up by others, and he was a sitting duck. I’m a big fan of tough play. I loved guys like Ronnie Lott and Jack Tatum. They were hard hitters, but they didn’t do anything dirty or illegal. They were just tough.

  34. So much dumb on this post. If you watch it in slow motion it shows that Trevethan’s only issue was that he lowered his head and was unable to see what he was tackling. He wasn’t aiming for the head. It is clear that Adam’s lowered about a foot in the last half second before the hit. Had Adams been where he was prior to lowering, he would have been hit in the chest. Trevethan moving at 15-20 mph, would have been unable to pull up or even change his direction at that point. The idea that the play was dead is beyond moot, because two things are or are not occurring. The ref did not blow the whistle. He didn’t do so, because Adams legs are pushing for more yards.

  35. The idea that the play was dead is beyond moot, because two things are or are not occurring. The ref did not blow the whistle. He didn’t do so, because Adams legs are pushing for more yards.
    =====

    The play was not blown dead.

    Adams was moving, but certainly not FORWARD. 38 wrapped him up at the point of contact, at which point foward progress is stopped. 64 McCray, a Packer lineman pushes the two of them laterally, moreso backward. Then Trevathan spears Adams.

    Anyone that says Adams was moving forward couldn’t be more wrong.

  36. With the current focus on preventing head injuries, the league is obligated to draw the line on hits such as this one. There’s no gray area here – the hit was unnecessary, brutal, and targeted the runner’s head. It doesn’t matter whether Adams was down or not – though if he HAD BEEN ruled down, the suspension would have been easily justified for a much longer period.

    Coaches like to say “Make sure he’s down!!!” All that requires is a touch, not a dive into the ball carrier’s body. The NFL needs to start cracking down on purely unnecessary violence. Not hard to do. And does NOTHING to affect the play of the game, other than likely reducing injuries.

  37. jimmyjohns01 says:
    “The problem with this hit is it was intentional and direct to the head. Trevathan saw Adams was stood up and no other place to hit except the head so that’s where he aimed. It was malicious and could’ve been a career ender.”

    Intent would be better demonstrated if Trevathan had a history of this type of thing. The fact that the history isn’t there and remorse was shown doesn’t support intent. If you watch the replay in real time, it was bang bang. I do think the rules should be rewritten to allow for immediate ejection and suspension when this occurs, but there is enough room in current rules to allow otherwise today.

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