NFLPA president JC Tretter said in a recent letter that a player was fined $50,000 for “faking an injury.”
In the letter titled “Why The NFL On-Field Fine System Is Not Fine,” Tretter said the NFL is “excessively fining players” for on-field conduct, and this punishment was one of those cases.
Tretter wrote that the team’s medical staff told the player to “go down on the field” and was evaluated for a concussion after a blow to the head. The player then missed the next two series, Tretter wrote.
“Despite the emphasis on players’ self-reporting this most serious of injuries, the NFL determined in their review process that a $50,000 fine was warranted,” Tretter wrote.
It turned out that the player appealed the fine and won, so he didn’t have to pay anything. But with Tretter insinuating that the player self-reported the injury, Tretter said the original fine set “a very dangerous precedent.”
“If on one hand, the onus is put on players to self-report injuries for their own safety, how can it be that they get penalized for following the reporting protocol to get their injury reviewed? ” he said.
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“The question then ultimately becomes, why fine? As a union that wants to ensure the safety of our members, we can understand a need to hold everyone accountable against dangerous play. But we play an inherently violent sport. Players are moving at high speeds and are required to collide with one another. It is also an inherently imperfect sport. It is not played in slow motion for players to ensure perfect pad level, hand placement and helmet placement. In other words, sometimes collisions happen in ways that are not intended.”
It’s unknown what player Tretter is talking about, but on Oct. 23, Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell told tight end T.J. Hockenson to “go down” when he was hurt. That prompted people to assume that O’Connell was telling Hockenson to fake an injury so they wouldn’t have to use a timeout. It looked, though, as if Hockenson suffered a leg injury, rather than a concussion.
Tretter played center for both the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns from 2013 to 2021.