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Clark Slapped with Fine for Second Straight Week for Hit Sunday Night

Sunday night the goofs in the refs shirts totally missed the illegal Ray Lewis on Hines Ward hit, but they were quick to get Ryan Clark on his questionable hit in the game, and for the second straight week he’s been fined.

Clark was hit with a $40,000 fine today for a helmet-to-helmet hit, his second in as many weeks. He’s also ticked about it, stating today that coach Mike Tomlin informed him of the fine and told him the hit was used by Tomlin on Monday as an example of a good hit in the team’s film review.

The hit came in the first half when Clark was flagged for his hit on Ravens tight end Ed Dickson. It was a marginal call, as Clark hit Dickson in stride, appearing to lead with his shoulder.

Also, the NFL fined Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Steelers receiver Hines Ward in the same game. Lewis wouldn’t disclose the amount of the fine but a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that the linebacker was docked $20,000 for the hit.

Clark was flagged for his hit on Baltimore Ravens tight end Ed Dickson late in the first half. Clark hit Dickson in stride, appearing to lead with his shoulder, but both players’ helmets made contact.

“This time it’s wrong, not that I respected Roger (Goodell) before this,” Clark told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

He plans to appeal the fine.

Clark was fined $15,000 last week for his hit out of bounds on New England tight end Rob Gronkowski. Steelers linebacker James Harrison also is expected to receive a fine for a helmet-to-helmet hit in the game according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

And in wrapping up this story, Lewis WAS fined for his illegal hit on Ward – too bad the awful ref crew from the game didn’t call it as they should – it would have given the Steelers a first and goal and easily could have changed the outcome of the game.

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 Comment

1 Comment

  1. DrGeorge

    November 9, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    As we noted last year, Goodell has deliberately targeted certain players in the league, not because they play dirty, but because they hit hard. On this occasion, Clark correctly led with his shoulder, trying to dislodge the ball — THEN the helmets came into contact. It was a hard hit. And there is a suspicion in the mind of many NFL fans that if Clark had hit the receiver a bit less enthusiastically, even thogh helmet contact occurred, there would have been no penalty. In effect, Clark was fined because the hit was vicious. Not because it violated the rule.

    If so, the rule is all about appearances. Not fairness.

    Let’s consider the logic of the rule itself. If all helmet to helmet contact between receivers and defenders is bad, why not punish all instances of such contact even-handedly? Better yet, why not prohibit it outright? Public interest in football would fall off a cliff, of course, and ticket sales would plummet, but play would be safer. So, if safety is the goal, why not make all contact above the shoulder pads a penalty? If it is bad for wide receivers, it is equally bad for everyone else. Right? The rationale for the rule is that receivers are “defenseless.” But aren’t running backs defenseless when they are being tackled? They certainly endure a lot of heavy helmet contact. How about defenseless linemen who are blind-sided. Do they not deserve equal protection? Are some player’s brains more protectable than others?

    If Goodell was serious about player safety, he would simply outlaw helmet to helmet contact. Period. Instead, Goodell has chosen to play act, seeming to care about head injuries via selective enforcement of hits that King Roger deems “too hard” — after the fact. His arbitrary manner is unjust and widely perceived as such. His arbitrary enforcement influences the outcome of games by making players hesitant to play well. His oversight in it effect the butcher’s thumb on the scale.

    Which brings us to the crux of the matter. NFL football is no longer a sport. In the NFL, football is strictly business. And that business is entertainment. If some players hit “too hard,” injuries are likely to occur. When injuries occur to high profile players — receivers and QBs, for example — it is bad for business. The public pays to see big name athletes score TDs. Offensive linemen have little market value.

    Therein lies the hypocrisy which motivates the present inequitable rule. At bottom, it isn’t only about safety. Or even primarily about safety. It’s mostly about money. And judged through that moral prism, we may paraphrase (with apologies to George Orwell), “all players brains are equal, but some players are more equal than others.”

    If that sounds like a travesty of sport, you correctly understand the modern NFL.

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