George Iloka shouldn’t have been suspended

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The ruling on the one-game suspension imposed by the league on Bengals safety George Iloka should be coming any minute now. Regardless of whether hearing officer Derrick Brooks overturns or reduces the discipline, a suspension should never have been implemented in the first place.

Iloka’s helmet-to-helmet hit on Steelers receiver Antonio Brown merits a fine, but not a suspension. Indeed, at least six other players in the past few weeks have committed infractions that were as bad if not worse than Iloka’s. Each of them — from Packers linebacker Jake Ryan to Rams linebacker Blake Countess to Broncos safety Darian Stewart to Packers tight end Richard Rodgers to Browns safety Jabril Peppers — received a $24,309 fine.

For Iloka, a suspension would be more than 10 times more costly, stripping him of a $235,000 game check and a $31,250 per-game roster bonus.

But the league put P.R. over precedent (as it always does), handing out suspensions as a reaction to the violence and injuries that occurred during a stand-alone game about which plenty in the media were wringing their hands and/or gnashing their teeth.

Folks, it’s football. The hits are unfortunate and in many cases avoidable, but they happen. And there’s a very real disconnect between the attitudes toward those kinds of hits from those who cover the sport and those who consume it.

If you don’t believe that, wait and see what happens if/when the NFL keeps changing the fundamental nature of the game. Eventually, someone will start a league that embraces the hits that the NFL now tries to shun. Players will sign up for an old-school football league without hesitation, and plenty of fans who lament football players not being allowed to play football the way they used to play football will flock to a version of the sport that doesn’t shy away from the kind of contact that used to be commonplace on Sundays and Monday nights.

66 responses to “George Iloka shouldn’t have been suspended

  1. Players need to stop suing the NFL then…can’t have it both ways. They are doing this as a legal defense to say “see!!! we made changes to protect the players!!”

    The NFL of course doesn’t care about the players, they care about the money they have to pay out.

  2. “Eventually, someone will start a league that embraces the hits that the NFL now tries to shun. ”

    ————————

    This was tried and was a complete failure. XFL anyone?

    Top Players are not going to signup for a league that initially would have to pay them substantially less. Consumers are not going to pay big bucks; to watch guys who are not good enough to be in the NFL.

  3. The play was illegal and if he had a past history he would be suspend one game without a doubt. Even though Iloka does not have a history of head hunting, if we look at when the hit occurred during the game, it can be easily argued that there was intent to injure for payback on Juju’s block on Burfict. I don’t believe Juju of Iloka should be suspended but I think that is the league’s rational behind the suspensions.

  4. Goodell has a “suspension wheel” he used to determine these kinds of things. He spins it and “the wheel” determines the punishment.

  5. I’ll preface this by saying I completely agree with the idea that the league hands out punishments in an extremely inconsistent manner. So I understand the argument that the suspension was excessive. That said, I can’t help but think maybe they took the entire game situation into context on this one. It would be very easy to argue that hit was completely in retaliation to the hit on Burfict that occurred four minutes prior.

  6. Gronk gets only a one game suspension for an obvious intentional hit. A defensive player gets a one game suspension for a bang bang hard hit with no obvious intent. How is that consistent or fair? No need to respond. I know the answer.

  7. I do not think he should be suspended. And I’m a Steelers fan. It wasn’t a deliberate attempt to hit him in the head.

    JuJu’s suspension was more warranted just because of the taunting. The hit itself didn’t warrant a suspension. Not for a first time offence.

    But it’s long been established that the league has no consistency or credibility when it comes to these things. They just react. The only thing they stand for is money.

  8. The NFL dishes out discipline based on public reaction which is a horrible way to run a league. Goodell really must go. This is getting worse and worse every year and he is the common denominator.

  9. What this rant truly shows is that the league is too lenient! More discipline not less for these hits. Gronk’s was the worst and multiple games should have been handed out. Schuster’s was warranted by taunting. Illoka probably should have been suspended 2 games and from what I saw those others should have been suspended.

  10. Well, should AJ Green or Bobby McCain?

    Face it, here’s what happened:

    1. Goodell has been cheating the Pats for 10+ years now.
    2. There is a league wide edict that’s it’s ok to abuse Gronk, and with Edelman gone for the year, it will be harder for Brady to find binkies on the field, if Gronk is taken out, so go ahead and maul, hold, abuse, take cheap shots, etc. Goodell approves to try to slow down the Pats for parity purposes. And, he sure doesn’t want to be handing them another Lombardi again.
    3. Gronk snapped after years of ridiculous, two-faced “explanations” as to why the rules don’t apply to other teams, but only NE.

    Enter faux outrage over the incident, 95% of NFL fans wanting blood from the Pats, even though Goodell’s cheating is what caused this, and Goodell moves the goal posts, one week after Miami’s Bobby McCain slammed Amendola’s head into the turf, after the whistle, and then gave him a forearm shiver to the head.

    McCain received ONLY a 9K fine for it, AFTER being ejected.

    So ,Goodell has cheated again, to appease Pats Haters and he’s ruling off of what he thinks the expectation is, while openly changing the rules mid-season again.

    So, if he did not suspend Smith-Schuster and Iloka, it would appear that he is in fact cheating the Pats again.

    I knew he wouldn’t give Smith-Schuster 2 games like he fave Trevathan because NE goes into Pitt in 2 weeks, and as we know, Goodell wants the Pats opponent to be as strong as possible which is why McCain wasn’t suspended or AJ Green or Kiko Alonso…Any team that MIGHT give NE trouble, is protected, while NE is singled out for rule changes and cheating during the season (or after).

    So, this is VERY well thought out by Goodell in terms of what he thinks something will look like. All about image. Literally everything they do is about how it looks, not what the truth or facts are.

    Have a nice day, cheater fanbases (and Goodell)!

  11. 345snarkavenue says:
    December 6, 2017 at 9:58 am
    Imagine the Steelers’ fan uproar if he hadn’t been?

    It was bad enough as it was.

    24 20 Rate This

    It would pale in comparison if it were Brady there Snarky Sparky.

  12. ARod(in his collarbone) says:
    2 dirty packer players on this list, so surprising.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
    I will defend my team when people post falsities.
    "Which NFL teams have the most player arrests? Bengals, Broncos among longest rap sheets since 2000"
    1. Minnesota Vikings
    Number of arrests: 49
    Perhaps the most notable of the Vikings' arrests was the "Love Boat" scandal, during which Fred Smoot, Daunte Culpepper, Bryant McKinnie and Moe Williams were all arrested. Adrian Peterson's child abuse case along with 18 DUI cases were also among the Vikings' arrests over the years.

  13. He got suspended because fines are no longer enough. This is a new precedence. Players don’t care about fines (most never get paid) but they do care abut missed games and game checks. Don’t wanna miss games? Don’t cheaps-hot.

    Guess you think Gronk’s suspension was too much too, huh?

  14. I think that is what most fans are saying. There is no consistency in fines/suspensions, and the secrecy around it makes it even harder to understand. NHL releases a video with explanations of what was seen that deemed a fine/suspension. The NFL has this arrogance that they are above explaining their reasons to the common folk, then wonder why people are starting to lose interest in their sport.

  15. “So why was jujus suspension upheld?”
    _______________

    Take your pick: Was it the taunting afterwards? The fact it knocked the other guy out of the game? Or that crackback blocks have been a point of emphasis for quite a while now? He had the trifecta going on that one.

  16. Florio is overly critical in this article. He puts the NFL in a no-win situation. If they toughen penalties for helmet-to-helmet hits during the season, he can’t accept that they might be trying to send a stronger message to the players. Given all the injuries this season, must the NFL wait until next hear to hand out tougher penalties? Some of the angst for many seems to come from the relative penalties for the Gronk foul versus the Iloka foul. If the Gronk foul had come in a game a day later than Iloka’s, i’m sure the NFL would have given him a 2 game suspension. But it didn’t. So the NFL wants to send a message, but they can only choose no suspension or a 1 game suspension. They certainly can’t give Iloka more than a game. Let’s face it, a fine is not enough incentive to get players to change. Anything less than a game suspension is shrugged off. If a player could be given a fine equal to half a game paycheck, it might get his attention, but the negotiated fine schedule doesn’t allow for fines that large.

  17. objectivefootballfan says:
    December 6, 2017 at 10:05 am
    The Suspensions that get handed down are getting to be ridiculous, there is no consistency what so ever from the ones who hand it down!!

    ———————

    Right, because he wants to be able to cheat and manipulate outcomes wherever and whenever possible, hoping you and I don’t know that.

    The problem is, the jig is up.

    Every NFL customer I know or who I see on these boards, would like a clean, clear policy, so there is no appearwnce of cheating, but Goodell and the cheating owners don’t care.

    They call him up, tell him what to do, and voila, we now have spiraling ratings, down 500 million in the last 2 years.

    I fully realize 500 million spread out over 32 billionaires is a drop in the bucket, but I can guarantee you the networks are not happy. ESPN has had 2 layoffs due to a bad NBA tv deal and now they have this with the NFL.

    But, you can thank HOW Goodell and the cheating ovwners have managed that league, for all of this.

  18. This was tried and was a complete failure. XFL anyone?
    ———
    That was almost 20 years ago. The NFL has changed a lot since then. A new league wouldn’t have to be all gimmicks like the XFL. All they have to do is play football like it’s 1999.

  19. I agree. Theres been a rash of suspensions in the NFL and ejection the NBA that have struck me as overkill.
    If a players breaking the rules thats one thing. But these flags and ejections over conduct are no good.
    If the League is worried about reputation, arrange something with the networks where they agree to switch cameras away.

  20. I can’t tell if Mike is being sarcastic or not regarding the loss of real football in the NFL, since many of us have lamented it for years. If so, welcome aboard. If not, well I suppose time will tell. My analogy is to George Lucas, who “fixed” his movies into unrecognizable messes before finally being put out to pasture so that fans could get back to what they liked. He and Goodell should go buy a time share together.

  21. He was trying to take out Antonio Brown. The trend of the game leads to that obvious assumption. Regardless of whether it happened during the game, in the parking lot, or at the concession stand there is no place in the game for that crap, and people deserve to be punished for targeting heads.

    Hilarious to me that people want the death sentence on Gronk for a pig-pile, and are ok with athletes spearing eachother in the skull as long as the whistle hasn’t blown.

  22. chmba says:
    December 6, 2017 at 10:38 am
    What this rant truly shows is that the league is too lenient! More discipline not less for these hits. Gronk’s was the worst and multiple games should have been handed out. Schuster’s was warranted by taunting. Illoka probably should have been suspended 2 games and from what I saw those others should have been suspended.

    1 3 Rate This

    —————

    Are you aware that fines have been the only thing for first time offenders as part of the rule in the CBA?

    Are you aware of this? I am not saying I agree with it, but that’s why Bobby McCain

    But, for trollish Pats Haters who want rules applied differently for NE, it means Goodell bends over for fans like you, moves the goal posts, and tries to satisfy your blood thirsty irrational reasoning.

    So, his whole “I must use Article 46” routine is why there is no clear cut policy on these.

    A rational leader would propose a 1 game suspension for first offenders, regardless of the team or the spin of how it “looks”.

    This would mean Bobby McCain should be suspended 1 game and have money stolen from him, similarly to Gronk.

    Maybe a 2nd time offender for a head hit of any kind, that is clearly avoidable or after the whistle, there should be a 4 game suspension as an example and a fine that is far greater, basically saying “you now have 2 strikes on you, watch out” type of thing.

    Like the fact, Burfict has been allowed to be treated so lightly, I think we all would agree is preposterous at this point. He’s a bad person trying to hurt people, while people like AJ Green (no suspension!) and Gronk, clearly are clean players and simply lost it for their own reasons.

    Not acceptable, but clearly different than INTENTIONAL, calculating head shots.

    But, Goodell won’t be rational and normal because he wants to be able to cheat based on helping ratings and appeasing fan$.

    Obviously, a lot of his actions are to appease Pats Haters because clearly the Pats successes isn’t good for parity and the growth of the league.

  23. Suspensions even out the landscape when it comes to the NFL making a point.
    You have players making $500000 to 1 million a game. A $20,000 fine doesn’t register for some of these idiots. That’s pocket change to them. Suspend them and they notice.

  24. yes – exactly – thank you,

    Iloka was trying to dislodge a football on a game tying reception – a pure football move, and necessary. It does no good to tackle him at that point. If the league doesn’t like that then change the rule for TD catches.

  25. SHOULDER-to-helmet. Not HELMET-to-helmet.
    This doesn’t change the gist of Florio’s argument or the punishment, because the rule does not allow contact with the “helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder.”
    But just to be accurate, the replay shows Iloka struck Brown’s helmet with his shoulder, not his helmet.

  26. 345snarkavenue says:
    December 6, 2017 at 9:58 am
    Imagine the Steelers’ fan uproar if he hadn’t been?

    It was bad enough as it was.

    **********************************************************

    Because you only read homer comments.

    The Iloka suspension was unwarranted. Guess is that it was levied because of contextual reasons — where the game was going from a physicality and discipline standpoint and the nature of games recently between these two teams. Not saying that justifies the suspension, but it had to have been a consideration.

    Should’ve been Iloka gets fined and JJSS gets one game. Big JJSS fan, including the physicality (that’s why they drafted him). Not a fan of taunting after causing injury, even if the recipient is a garbage cheapshot artist.

  27. @mogogo1 so crackback blocks have been a point of emphasis but helmet to helmet against defenseless receivers hasn’t? Been following football much lately?

  28. The NFL wants to say they are worried about he safety of the players and there is no room for this type of behavior in the game… but I guarantee that next season they exploit this matchup on primetime for the ratings it will get.

  29. Kick a player in the face with both feet while lying on your back, no suspension

    Grab a RB by the face mask and spin him to the ground nearly breaking his neck, no suspension

    Run onto the field after a play then swat a ref away (contact), no suspension.

    Might have know about someone who may or may not have let air out of footballs, 4 games, fines, picks.

    Yeah, we get how much favor NE has with the front office. That would be none.

  30. Gronk’s hit was at least twice as bad as that one, considering it wasn’t even during the play. The fact he was only suspended one game is absurd. This league is a joke…..

  31. Lemmy Aksyadis says:

    December 6, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Kick a player in the face with both feet while lying on your back, no suspension

    Grab a RB by the face mask and spin him to the ground nearly breaking his neck, no suspension

    Run onto the field after a play then swat a ref away (contact), no suspension.

    Might have know about someone who may or may not have let air out of footballs, 4 games, fines, picks.

    Yeah, we get how much favor NE has with the front office. That would be none.
    __________________——————————————–

    Maybe actually start watching the games instead of getting all your play-by-play from the comment sections afterwards.

  32. Lemmy Aksyadis says:
    December 6, 2017 at 11:18 am
    Kick a player in the face with both feet while lying on your back, no suspension

    Grab a RB by the face mask and spin him to the ground nearly breaking his neck, no suspension

    Run onto the field after a play then swat a ref away (contact), no suspension.

    Might have know about someone who may or may not have let air out of footballs, 4 games, fines, picks.

    Yeah, we get how much favor NE has with the front office. That would be none.

    1 0 Rate This

    ——————–
    Isn’t it amazing.

    Suh, a repeat offender that evceryone knows is the dirtiest player in the league next to Burfict, grabs Dion Lewis’s facemask, picks him up off the ground, throws him to the ground for the tackle behind the line of scrimmage, and the cheating refs via Goodell can’t even throw a flag for the penalty itself. The best part is when the announcers go quiet during the replay or they try to somehow deflect away from how bad this missed call is. LMAO

    So, Suh got away with murder and so did Bobby McCain later, as he assaulted Amendola as bad as Gronk did to White.

    There’s just no consistency, which proves Goodell cheats.

    There is no way on god’s green earth that the officials should be this bad. They’re not. It’s that they’re told to do things to swing games, for tv ratings purposes, hence why all these penalties are made up vs our team, and why they ignore brutal infractions against our team, right in front of everyone’s face.

    Absolutely unreal. No troll cares that we’re victimized, because they’re phonies and WANT Goodell to cheat our team.

    Essentially, that’s why Gronk snapped. We know what Goodell is doing. Us screaming at the TV every Sunday seeing these insulting injustices, is symbolic to Gronk losing it.

  33. Unreal that you can write that headline. Iloka should be banned for the season along with Burfict. The Bengals had one intention Monday night… hurt the Steelers anyway they can. Cincy players, fans and coaches are so jealous of Steelers it is scary. As a Steeler fan, I no longer feel safe to go to a game there. You need to wake up!

  34. Well,Iloka didn’t stand over Brown and taunt him after the helmet hit, to his credit. The hit itself was bad enough. A heavy fine that would go to a charity would be satisfying enough. Gronk is lucky that he didn’t get a 2-gamer or more, which would cause him to miss the Steelers game. The Pats always have a hard time in Miami, so that game is not exactly a lock either. What he did is inexcusable. All of these dirty plays have to stop before someone kills a guy.

  35. mrbiggstuff says:
    December 6, 2017 at 10:40 am

    He got suspended because fines are no longer enough. This is a new precedence. Players don’t care about fines (most never get paid)
    ______________________________________________

    (sigh) You really do just make it up as you go along. All fines are paid, the players have no choice since they are deducted directly from their game checks.

  36. “Eventually, someone will start a league that embraces the hits that the NFL now tries to shun. Players will sign up for an old-school football league without hesitation”

    Not sure if this is intended as sarcasm/trolling or not, given the hyperbolic nature of the sentences, but the is almost exactly what the XFL was– no fair catches, more freedom of expression for players, “MORE BIG HITS!!”, and so on…yeah, it failed miserably.

    Fans don’t want to see players getting hurt and leaving games, period. Keeping the players, and especially the star players, on the field is what the NFL should be focusing on, and while they may not be 100% consistent, they are for the most part doing just that.

    Remember when Mark Cuban laid into the NFL and said they were doing it all wrong? He looks pretty smart right about now with those comments. While the NBA is adjusting its schedule to make things less physically taxing on its players, the NFL stubbornly refuses to give up Thursday Night Football and still wants more games in the regular season schedule.

    The NBA has gotten younger at the ownership level, while the NFL is still stuck in the Old Whitey way of doing things, and it’s finally caught up to them and biting them in the ass.

  37. AJ Green walking away with no suspension at all was the biggest joke of all and it’s not even close.

  38. “Folks, it’s football. The hits are unfortunate and in many cases avoidable, but they happen…..”

    Why are you just saying this now? That is what 99% of the fans have been saying since the inception of the “discipline” system. There is no rhyme or reason as to how they hand out fines/suspensions. Personally, I don’t think JuJu should have been suspended either..he should have received a stiffer fine for the taunting. However, if you are saying he should have been suspended, and Iloka given a free pass…No way, he launched himself into Brown’s head…

  39. joetoronto says:

    December 6, 2017 at 11:40 am

    AJ Green walking away with no suspension at all was the biggest joke of all and it’s not even close.

    ____________________________

    Yes, I love the “That’s not me” defense that always comes out with the forced apology. I think Green’s situation was judged on the fact that he had no prior history of doing what he did. Gronk deserved a suspension,even with no priors, and so did Green, in my opinion. It’s not consistent.

  40. Now this is just crazy talk Iloka and any other player who does this deserves a suspension. Multiple steps and launching into a helmet to helmet hit after the catch was made in the endzone can’t be accepted. In between the goal lines i agree fine, the play isnt over but once that catch was made it’s over.

  41. bradygirl12 says:

    December 6, 2017 at 11:56 am

    joetoronto says:

    December 6, 2017 at 11:40 am

    AJ Green walking away with no suspension at all was the biggest joke of all and it’s not even close.

    ____________________________

    Yes, I love the “That’s not me” defense that always comes out with the forced apology. I think Green’s situation was judged on the fact that he had no prior history of doing what he did. Gronk deserved a suspension,even with no priors, and so did Green, in my opinion. It’s not consistent.
    ————————————————-

    it’s not rocket surgery guys, Green was ejected, Gronk wasn’t, the league (rightfully so) takes that into consideration.

  42. it’s not rocket surgery guys, Green was ejected, Gronk wasn’t, the league (rightfully so) takes that into consideration.

    ===

    (wrongfully so)

    if a player is ejected imo that means the play was more egregious. if its bad enough for you to be ejected you should be suspended too

  43. This player, his team, was incentivized to separate Brown from ball. Penalty would have been called, of course. But points would at that time have come off the board while behind the scenes the defender would have gotten plenty of “attaboys”.

    Big fine AND suspension was the only way to handle this, league erred in reversing the decision.

  44. If you suspend JuJu you have to suspend Ioka. The Cincy Pittsburgh rivalry needs to be reigned in, too many people are getting hurt. And I do feel like Ioka doesn’t make that hit if JuJu doesn’t lay out Burfict.

  45. mysportsrumors says:

    December 6, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    it’s not rocket surgery guys, Green was ejected, Gronk wasn’t, the league (rightfully so) takes that into consideration.

    ===

    (wrongfully so)

    if a player is ejected imo that means the play was more egregious. if its bad enough for you to be ejected you should be suspended too———–

    ———————————–
    first of all a punch or touching the official is automatic ejection, you seriously believe those are more egregious than Gronk throwing a 300 pound elbow to the back of a guys head while he was lying defenseless on the ground? SERIOUSLY?

  46. Remember how Vince McMahon talked up about how much tougher the XFL would be? No fair catches in the XFL because our players are tougher than those weaklings in the NFL that fair catch punts. But in the XFL there is a 5-yard “halo” around the returner that can’t be violated until he catches the punt!

    If Florio really thinks someone will launch a new football league that embraces helmet to helmet hits that the NFL is eliminating, maybe he has CTE. Imagine the liability the new league would open itself up to. Who’s going to pay the monetary damages that would be coming?

  47. This is how Goodell’s mind works. He suspended Gronk, therefore, he had to suspend JuJu, therefore, he had to suspend Iloka. Logic doesn’t factor into it. His only consideration is how it will “play” in PR terms. I don’t believe players should be suspended for bad hits unless they hit a ref, deliberately stomp on a player who’s on the ground (I’m thinking about Suh here), or throw their helmet into the stands in a fit of temper–something truly outside the norm. I’ll admit Gronk’s situation is reminiscent of Suh, and still have a hard time understanding what on earth he was thinking. But you flag players, fine players, and in truly egregious situations (fighting, etc.), you eject players. The league is deteriorating rapidly because of one person: Roger Goodell.

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