NFL's two standards of justice

December, 22, 2011
When the NFL decided not to punish the Cleveland Browns over their (mis)handling of Colt McCoy's head injury, the league created an appearance that there are two kinds of justice.

There's one standard for the players and another for the teams. This goes beyond James Harrison and his one-game suspension.

[+] EnlargeColt McCoy
Justin K Aller/Getty ImagesThe Colt McCoy-James Harrison-Cleveleand Browns incident raises this question: Does the NFL have a different standard for teams than it does for players?
Although the Browns insist their doctors didn't know that McCoy was hit in the head, the bottom line is that the organization let McCoy back onto the field without administering a concussion test.

So, the Browns weren't disciplined in the same year that the NFL fined Packers linebacker Clay Matthews $5,000 for wearing the wrong color of cleats. It's the same year that the NFL fined Steelers safety Troy Polamalu $10,000 for using a cellphone on the sideline.

The Browns didn't get fined for their mistake -- one that could have led to further injury -- but Browns president Mike Holmgren was the one who called the league office after the NFL didn't fine coaches Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh after their on-the-field incident.

“Even if we’re only talking about $5,000 or $10,000, there should have been some fine,” Holmgren said of the lack of fine for Schwartz and Harbaugh. “That’s not good for our league, and if my guy [Pat Shurmur] had done it, I’d say the same thing."

The Browns aren't totally clear of the McCoy issue. The NFL Players Association has yet to decide whether it will file a grievance against the Browns.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter



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