With Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed making headlines this week for winning an appeal on a stiff NFL punishment, the league finds itself and it's punishment system back in the spotlight once more.
Under Commissioner Roger Goodell, the NFL has made major advancements into changing the rules of the game to protect its players from potential long term health threats. On the flip side, these advancements have not met universal appeal from the players in the league and they, and their style of play, have run head-long into the areas that the commissioner is trying to improve.
In retaliation for perceived egregious acts of violence, the NFL has taken to absurd fines in an attempt to chastise the guilty parties. In fact, the NFL has fallen so much in love with fines that they are dishing them out left and right for some of the most innocent of acts.
Needless to say, the players aren't too happy about it and the thinking behind it.
"We are football players," Pollard said in regards to the fine that teammate Ed Reed received for a helmet to helmet hit.. "We are taught to react. Don't call it defense if we can't defend something. If they're reacting and ducking their heads, you can't blame us for that. It needs to be a fine line."
"If an offensive player is ducking, we can't help that. We have a split second to make the tackle. We already used our split second .We got to go. We are a missile. We can't redirect. If they're ducking their head and doing other things you can't blame us for that."
And that's the rub of this situation, the players are just doing what they are taught to do. They are not intentionally going out there week after week looking to injure anyone, it just happens. These athletes are trained professionals in peak physical condition and they play a sport that involves major amounts of repetitive contact. The law of averages dictates that every once in a while, bad hits will happen and players will get injured.
That's the nature of the game.
In trying to do a good thing in looking out for player safety, the NFL is hamstringing its own product by trying to bankrupt the players who are putting their bodies on the line on a weekly basis with ridiculous fines. At some point, common sense needs to prevail and the league has to take these fines off the table for the silly things as well as the unintentional.
While there is no elegant solution to achieving the NFL's goals while keeping the players happy, one thing is becoming abundantly clear. Fines are not the way to go.
Here is a list of some NFL fines handed out over the past week and a half. Make your own decision on if you think they are fair or not.
*Baltimore safety Ed Reed was fined $50,000 Tuesday for his third helmet to helmet infraction in 2 years.
*Jacksonville defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, Kansas City linebacker Tamba Hali and New England LB Brandon Spikes were fined $25,000 each by the NFL on November 16 for hits in recent games.
*The Chiefs' Justin Houston was fined on November 16 $7,875 for unsportsmanlike conduct on a touchdown celebration.
*Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes got hit for $25,000 for his helmet-to-helmet hit of Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was fined $7,875 for an out-of-bounds hit on Ryan Fitzpatrick, and linebacker Jerod Mayo $10,000 for his out-of-bounds tackle of Bills running back C.J. Spiller. All were reported on November 16.
*Denver's Von Miller's $21,000 fine was for a low hit while teammate Kevin Vickerson's $15,000 fine was for a horse collar tackle. Both reported on November 16.
*Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall has been fined $30,000 by the NFL front office after confronting an official during his teams loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Reported on November 15.
*NFL Referee Tony Corrente has been fined one game check for uttering obscenities with his microphone on during the Nov. 4 game in Indianapolis between the Colts and the Miami Dolphins.
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.