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Roger Goodell Explains His Decision to Fine Polamalu for Cell Phone Call

Eyebrows were raised last week when the NFL fined Steelers safety Troy Polamalu $10,000 for using a cell phone on the sidelines after suffering a head injury against the Jaguars. Polamalu explained he called his wife to ease her mind, given his history of concussions. That wasn’t a good enough reason for the league to bend the rules, despite the objections of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke about the decision Wednesday during an appearance on “On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren.”

“Well, I think it’s always a problem trying to have a rule that applies to everybody,” Goodell said, via “Troy’s a wonderful young man and there was concern about his health and there are ways of us getting word to families when there is an injury, and to make sure they understand that the player is OK. But we also don’t want to have all our players using phones on the sidelines for texting.” As cold as that could be perceived, it’s understandable the league was unwilling to set a precedent with this case.

“When someone’s injured and you’re family, you want to speak to the individual. And you want to hear their voice. You want to make sure they’re OK,” Goodell said. “And that’s something that probably could’ve happened by taking him off the field and allowing him access to be able to call his wife.”

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. Steel Q

    October 28, 2011 at 2:09 am

    Fuck Goodell.

  2. The Tony

    October 28, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I agree with Goodell on this one. It is against the rules to use cell phones during games with no exception. If this weren’t a rule then players would be tweeting during games and Bill Belichick would most certainly find a way to cheat. Goodell merely did not want to open Pandoras Box.

    • Boss Steeler Chick

      October 30, 2011 at 12:11 pm

      The problem is the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Goodell’s reign can be summed up in one word: INCONSISTENCY. He SUCKS.

  3. DrGeorge

    October 28, 2011 at 10:17 am

    I agree with the discipline — The Tony has it right — but I don’t agree with the size of the fine.

    By the way, I presume Troy did not have a cellphone in his uniform. The fine should be charged to the staff member who gave him the phone.

  4. Nancy

    October 29, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    And if he left the fiel just to call his wife, don’t you think GODell would have a rule about that too? How much would those fines be?????

  5. Boss Steeler Chick

    October 30, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Goodell is a jerk and not just because he fined Troy Polamalu. Any play on the field is now subject to a fine. The NFL is like a prison ward with Goodell the warden. He has no business running the NFL. He hasn’t played the game since high school. His strength is making $$ and that’s all he cares about. Don’t be fooled.

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