A.J. Hawk Deserved More Than $10,000 Fine for Flipping the Bird

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 18:   A.J. Hawk #50 of the Green Bay Packers during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Matt FaulconerFeatured ColumnistOctober 21, 2011

A.J. Hawk got away scott free for his immature act of flipping the bird on national television. The NFL should have brought the hammer down on this sort of behavior.

The NFL is handing out fines for anything and everything these days, but a majority of the fines are downright stupid.

Ray Rice was recently fined $7,500 for a stiff arm. That's right, a stiff arm. Are you kidding? When the NFL is levying fines for a football play, that's when you know the NFL got soft. If they are going to start fining for it, they should make it illegal. Why not change the game completely? Roger Goodell is trying.

No one can deny that Hawk deserved a fine from the NFL, but it should have been larger. There is a precedent for these sort of fines, and Goodell levied a huge one on Titans owner Bud Adams just last year.

Adams received a $250,000 fine for "making an obscene gesture" at Buffalo Bills fans. No one is going to argue that Hawk should receive a fine that large, but the NFL needs to be more concrete in how it dishes out these fines.

The biggest issue with this fine is that Hawk did something that is controllable. There have been plenty of instances where NFL players have been fined for an illegal hit that wasn't exactly on purpose. Niles Paul of the Washington Redskins was recently fined $20,000 for a hit on Austin Pettis on a play that really wasn't as bad as it looked.

If you break down the play, you notice that Paul attempted to turn his head and lead with his shoulder at the last minute, but Pettis lowered his head when he received the catch, forcing their helmets to collide. Even Pettis understood when he tweeted Paul should appeal the fine, because Pettis should have called for a fair catch.

While Paul's was a bang-bang play, Hawk's was a stupid, immature decision. Hawk knows that every NFL game is televised. He knows that millions of people are watching every game.

He apologized after the game, but as everyone knows, actions speak louder than words.

If Paul is going to get fined $20,000 for a bang-bang play, Hawk should have been fined the same amount for something that he can easily control. Heat of the moment or not, this was unacceptable.

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