“Tens of millions of NFL fans watch games each week during the season. During each contest, the league’s world-class athletes overwhelmingly conduct themselves in a way that honours the sport and respects the game, their fellow players, the fans and the league.” NFL Football Operations
The above statement from the NFL Football Operations website could not be further from what happened in last night’s game between New York Giants and Carolina Panthers.
The heated exchange between Odell Beckham Jr and Josh Norman is something I haven’t witnessed before. Sure, I’ve seen the occasional fight and I generally put it down to a heated moment, passion of the game, when it happens once or twice you can sometimes understand it, but the way they were targeting one another made a mockery of the game and made me lose respect for both players.
It got dangerous and to the point where targeting one another seemed more important than the objective which both teams set out before the game – to win.
Beckham drew three personal fouls in the game, with the worst coming in the third quarter when the Giants star was penalised for a nasty blindside hit to Norman’s head. There will be fines and potentially suspension but a lot of fans, myself included, questioned this during the game, and many have questioned it since – why wasn’t Odell ejected from the game? This is now in the hands on the NFL to investigate further but in a situation like that where a player is targeting another to cause injury, what does it take for a player to be ejected?
Ahead of the 15-16 season, the NFL’s Competition Committee approved rules changes and points of emphasis for 2015-16. Included in this is that fighting is unacceptable and the league policy on fighting is clear and states the following: “Don’t fight, and if a fight breaks out involving other players, stay away.”
It also says that any active participant in a fight will be penalized. Flagrant conduct will result in ejections and any player that does not immediately leave the fight area will be subject to a fine. So this last statement, if you look at the blindside hit, it absolutely should have resulted in an ejection. However, there is perhaps more to it that we’re being told and there’s a reason the referees didn’t make the call. I’m sure we’ll find out soon…
What are your thoughts?