Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski are both suspended for this week’s games, but both will be back next week when their teams play each other. Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t think that’s right.
Roethlisberger told reporters he thought the suspension for Smith-Schuster was overly harsh, considering Smith-Schuster’s hit on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict came on a bang-bang play in the course of a typical football situation. Gronkowski, on the other hand, blindsided a prone opponent who was lying on the ground after a play.
“I didn’t think it was warranted, I thought maybe a fine,” Roethlisberger said of Smith-Schuster’s discipline. “You look at what Gronk did and what JuJu did, they got the same suspension. I don’t know that that’s necessarily fair.”
The problem with NFL discipline is that there are no consistent standards for what constitutes a fine, what constitutes a one-game suspension and what constitutes a multiple-game suspension. The on-field officials are also inconsistent about deciding when to eject a player and when to allow a player to stay in the game after a personal foul. Players are left confused about why seemingly different offenses result in the same punishments.