In the modern NFL, most fans will get over bad calls by referees or misplays by their own team within a few weeks. However, the biggest issue the NFL has in regard to its fans is one of credibility and transparency. The Buccaneers have seen this first-hand.
It seems that the league has very inconsistent standards in many respects, but no more so than the way they hand out fines. Some fines are far too large, others too small, others never given for clear violations of league rules, and still some players get punished for minor infractions.
Fans usually can’t even find any sort of consistent standard when the league is handing out their punishments, leading to frustration from all the parties involved and watching.
The hypocrisy of the league was exemplified this week when it was reported that Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians was fined $50,000 by the league for hitting his safety, Andrew Adams, on the head. It should be noted this was not a hit of malice but, Arians has stated and the video shows, that he was trying to ensure Adams did not pull any players off the pile, which would have been a penalty.
In all likelihood ,Adams was caught up in the moment and had a simple lapse in judgement, which happens all the time in professional sports. Adams obviously understood why Arians hit him, and didn’t seem particularly bothered by the event, especially since Arians hit him on his helmet.
Now, this wouldn’t be a credibility issue for league if they had fined L.A. Rams star Aaron Donald for a similar amount of money for punching/choking an opposing player on the Arizona Cardinals during their game last Sunday. At the very least, scraping at the face of a helmet-less opponent should garner some response from the NFL, but clearly superstars are held to a different standard.
Either Arians and Donald both need to be fined for hitting a player or they both don’t.
The league is ruining its credibility with fans and players alike with actions like this. Hopefully, they can begin to hold a consistent standard, but until then everyone will keep assuming, as the evidence points to, that the league is playing favorites when it comes time to hand out fines.