Jack’d Off: The Ridiculous Nature of Fines in Sports

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Updated: October 21, 2012

Last night I had a brief conversation with the Editor of this site about the expected fine to be dished to the Baltimore Ravens in lieu of failing to report the Ed Reed injury.  This brief conversation quickly digressed, as we opened an entire bucket of minnows about the relevancy sports fines.

For instance, it is reported that the Baltimore Ravens will receive a $20 000 fine because precedence was set when the Bills and Redskins also failed to report injuries this year and 20k was the punishment.

I honestly laughed when I saw the Skins failed to report star QB and rookie sensation Robert Griffin III having a mild concussion.  Not because of the injury of course, but rather that it represents a dirty truth.  Let me explain…

The NFL realizes that betting is a huge reason why they are the most popular league in North America. The NFL expects their teams to report injuries so that betting lines can be adjusted appropriately, and no one is getting “inside information” on injuries that might affect the outcome of the game.  But you can look at it from another perspective and say that now the players are in a vulnerable spot as the exact nature of the injury is being unveiled to the opponents!  We all know that teams target injuries, which leaves players exposed.

Washington Redskins Billionaire owner Dan Snyder took this perspective and didn’t want people to know about the concussion because he knows his ultimate penalty for failing to report an injury is roughly $20 000.  Do you even want to know what $20 000 to a billionaire is? I mean, he could probably throw that sum of money in a toilet just to determine his bowl’s flushing capacity.

This led me to discuss how fines in pro sports are so minimal that players, coaches, managers, and owners will easily flirt with them if it is in their best interest – and usually it is.  Take Chad Ocho Cinqo-Johnson best known from the Cincinnatti Bengals for being an elite wide receiver in the NFL, but much more remembered for his in-game antics causing him to receive weekly fines anywhere from $5000 – $20 000.  Sometimes he would tweet things like “Tonight’s celebration is going to get me fined for sure but its sooo worth it!”  Convinced?  Basically he was making a mockery of the league’s disciplinary policy.  He was unafraid of it because the fines  doled out are barely a slap on the wrist.  In fact, I would go so far as to say his hilarious antics helped gain him endorsements that paid for the fines, and more!

Another famous NFL wide receiver, Randy Moss, once told us what he thinks about a $10000 fine, and ended up turning it into a money-maker with the words “straight cash homie” being printed on t-shirts all over America!  How embarrassing for the NFL, right?

How about when famous hockey coach Scotty Bowman was fined for pushing a reporter.  Brian Burke was the General Manager of a team that Bowman didn’t even coach for and he said he agreed with Bowman and paid the fine for him.  Again, these fines mean nothing to them.  How many times have you paid for a friends speeding ticket? Never, because you and I can’t afford that.

My parting thoughts: If sports leagues really want to penalize their employees, they are going to have include suspensions or else dramatically increase fines.  The problem is that suspensions hurt the league because fans want to be entertained by “the best”.  Therefore, the answer has to be “Mo’ money”! Maybe a percentage of one’s yearly salary, something that will make them learn.  In response to my friend last night that asked me about what I think of the possible Baltimore Ravens fine for covering Ed Reeds injury, I can only answer this way – Ravens CEO Steve Bisciotti is worth $1.5 BILLION.  The fins is going to be an estimated $20 000, which he has made since I started this paragraph.  How will afford to pay his rent and eat dinner tonight.  You get the point.

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