Thomas Davis suspension seems harsh, given precedent

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The NFL’s consistent inconsistency continues regarding the decision to suspend Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis two games.

One game would have made sense, given the precedent established two weeks ago when the league suspended Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for an illegal hit on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Two games seems excessive.

At first blush, there was a chance Davis wouldn’t be suspended at all, because the illegal hit on Packers receiver Davante Adams came not during a prime-time game but within the cluster of 1:00 p.m. ET kickoffs. After all, Smith-Schuster’s suspension supposedly arose not only from the hit but also from the fact that he taunted Burfict. Balancing that, from the perspective of a one-game suspension, was the fact that Davis was fined $48,620 last month for an illegal hit.

Still, two games seems excessive for a hit that occurred during a play, especially with Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski getting only one game for a post-play pounce on the head of Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White.

Predictability, consistency, fairness. None of that seems to apply when it comes to meting out discipline for on-field rules violations.

Yes, there’s an independent review process. But there isn’t a stubborn commitment to generating decision after decision that harmonizes in a way that would allow someone on the outside to look at a given hit and know right away what the punishment will be.

Tuesday’s appeal hearing could reduce the Davis suspension to one game. And maybe the league went with two to get the final decision down to one. Regardless, it shouldn’t be this way; when a player yanks an opponent’s facemask, everyone knows the penalty is 15 yards of field position. When a player applies an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit on an opponent, everyone should know the outcome, too.

23 responses to “Thomas Davis suspension seems harsh, given precedent

  1. Gronkowski didn’t get more games because if he had been suspended more than 1 game he wouldn’t have been eligible to play vs Steelers – anyone not able to see that is delusional, a patriots fan, blind, or all three.

  2. I was a little shocked at the concept that it should not be as bad because it wasnt during prime time. Way to not get the point guys.

  3. They just gave Roger a new contract, this is what we will live with for years. Lack of leadership is killing the NFL. Bill

  4. firegoodell says:
    December 18, 2017 at 5:11 pm
    Gronkowski didn’t get more games because if he had been suspended more than 1 game he wouldn’t have been eligible to play vs Steelers – anyone not able to see that is delusional, a patriots fan, blind, or all three.

    No, it was because that was Gronks first offense, you can trust if he ever does that again he gets a heavy one. This was Davis’s second offense year. Im ok with the reasoning on those two. The one that falls out of context was actually Bennett’s.

  5. I think the plan is that it will be reduced to one game after appeal.

    If you make the penalty fit the crime, you don’t need to negotiate after the fact.

    I agree that it should be clearly understood what, if any, penalty will result for the same infraction.

    You know, like failing to stand for the national anthem – 1st offense a fine, second offense a 1 game suspension , 3rd offense a 4 game suspension and if you are stupid enough to do it a 4th time a 12 month suspension.

    Problem will go away pretty quick if you make the penalty progressive for repeat offenses.

  6. If someone is injured on an illegal play, suspend the offending player for as long as the injured player is out. If the injured player doesn’t miss any time, then simply fine the other player.

  7. It should be one game for each incidence of any helmet to helmet hit. Deliberate attempt to injure – as Gronk did – should be at least double that.

    Shouldn’t be hard to figure out for a guy who might make $40 million in a year.

  8. This is the same player who ended another players carreer when they were both in their rookie year,

  9. I’m fine with giving Gronk a 2nd game retroactive suspension, if that makes things seem equitable.

    Either you really want to clean the game up or not. There’s not much worse out there than a blind side helmet to helmet hit. Although Gronk did manage to find one.

  10. As someone else said – repeat offender. You can bet if Burfict delivers the same hit he isn’t walking away with just a game either.

    Could also be the NFL upping the ante as time passes and more of the same continues. Next year it might jump to 3 games, then 4 if things don’t subside…etc, until players get the message loud and clear: you may get one game, you may get 6, at the end of the day it’s gonna cost straight cash homie….

  11. So did the Elliott suspension, but, that’s arbitrary Goodell for you.

    That said, the only way these guys are going to get the message is hurting them where it hurts. The wallet.

  12. Davis is a repeat offender with a lengthy history of this. Already has been fined once this year for $48,000 as was noted here.

    The NFL needs to make two rules changes with respects to illegal hits that knock players from the game.

    First rules change should be that while the injured player is down on the field. The play is reviewable in case the officials missed the call of an illegal hit. They are already in a time out when the player is down. So reviewing the play to see if there was an illegal hit wouldn’t extend games.

    Second rules changes should be if a player knocks another player out of the game due to an illegal hit. That player is also ejected from the game.

  13. He deserves more than one game and a fine. This is his THIRD helmet to helmet and has never been suspended. They need to give them what they say they are going to give them. NO APPEAL. If he only gets one game he will do it again. They need to start cracking down before someone REALLY gets hurt, more than a concussion. Wise up.

  14. Guys that think Davis did that intentionally are moronic. Running full speed and at an angle, he had to get his head in front of the shoulder pads to avoid the clipping penalty. He could not go low for the same reason. The reason he lunged was to get his head in front of the pads. He was not aiming for his head or trying to injure the guy. He was trying to make a legal block for a teammate in a split second to react.

    Davis was clearly not happy with how it turned out which meant it was not his intention to go head to head. He tried to make a play in which there had a small margin of error.

  15. Well Gronk should’ve been suspended the remainder of the season for his cowardly hit! Yet he only received a 1 game extension……….smh

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