Cody Wallace Fine Another Example of NFL Hypocrisy
If there was ever a time for the NFL to start changing public perception regarding how the league treats player safety, this was the week.
Because of the one-week suspension handed down to Giants superstar Odell Beckham Jr. for his heinous helmet collision with Panthers DB Josh Norman, another ugly moment from this past weekend has passed by largely unnoticed.
On a routine throw-and-catch from Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown in the Steelers-Broncos game, Brown got roughed up before succumbing to the tackle. Polarising Pittsburgh center Cody Wallace took exception to the hit, and barrelled headfirst into a Denver defender long after the play was over.
The vicious shot looked to have everything a concussion is made of, but instead of suspending Wallace, the NFL simply issued him a $23 000 fine.
It’s not as though the NFL needed any additional excuse to hand down another suspension, either. Wallace is known around the league for his prodding, borderline dirty actions. This hit didn’t just cross the line, it obliterated it with all the force of a 300-pound man leaving his feet with intent to incapacitate.
In terms of both intent and outcome, there was nothing separating the two indiscretions on Sunday. Some may make the argument that Beckham – being the much more high-profile player – was a bigger priority and therefore set a stronger example, but you’d be hard pressed to find any players and coaches around the league who’d agree with this sort of merit-based penalty system.
Not helping matters is the fact that OBJ will miss this week’s primetime Sunday Night Football affair; obviously a key storyline heading into the Giants’ most important game of the season, in which the NFL’s iron fist will be on display for the whole country to see.
Wallace, meanwhile, would have been playing in primetime this week, but Pittsburgh’s clash with Baltimore was unceremoniously flexed out of SNF because of the Ravens’ irrelevance this season. One can’t help but wonder how the tables might have turned if Wallace were the one in this week’s national spotlight.
As for Steelers fans, they might not have minded seeing the starting center benched for a game anyway. All Wallace has been good for since replacing All-Pro lineman Maurkice Pouncey has been holding penalties and laying people out after the play. If a little dent in his paycheck is all he can expect as punishment, don’t expect his sportsmanship to improve anytime soon.