The League

Chris Richardson
National Blogger

Chris Richardson

The lead writer for IntentionalFoul.com.

Janet Jackson would be proud

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If a player wants to pay respects to a fallen comrade, should such a display of emotion be punished in order to "preserve" the league's image, and the (false) sense of uniformity its leaders are striving for? Seeing how the NFL markets the helmet instead of the name, save the "Manning" and "Favre" names, it wouldn't be unexpected. What message is being sent, however?

What is the lesson being handed down by the NFL's front office every time a fine is collected for a sock infraction or eye-black infringement? If this is an issue of control, what, exactly, do Roger Goodell and company gain by preventing and/or punishing Chad Ochocinco or Brandon Marshall for their tributes to Chris Henry? It sounds like the "Iron Fist" theory to me.

That is, rule with one.

If the star outshines the system that produces it, apparently, there will be repercussions beyond mere individual fines and these will felt far and wide. Evidently, allowing such behavior will hasten the fall of the league to an unimaginable degree. If respectful personal expression is allowed, pretty soon, the inmates will be running the asylum.

Just ask David Stern and his dress code/code of conduct rules that resulted in a player revolt/coup that relived him of his NBA Commissionership. Oh, that's right.

I mean, what other lesson are we supposed to take from a league that will unapologetically hand down $5,000 fines for incorrect sock-wearing? Although reports indicate that punishments are "doubtful" for Ochocinco and Marshall, it won't be long before a player has a few dollars removed from their game check for a uniform violation.

Keep in mind; this is the same organization that threatened Peyton Manning with a $25,000 fine if he wore black cleats to honor Johnny Unitas.

It's all about control.

By Chris Richardson  |  December 21, 2009; 3:59 PM ET  | Category:  Cincinnati Bengals , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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