Does the punishment fit the crime?

By Lauren Kelly

Two Bears players were fined for inappropriate conduct on the field during the Nov. 8 professional football game between the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals in week nine of the regular season.

Tommie Harris was charged $7,500 for unnecessarily striking an opponent, and Jay Cutler was fined $20,000 for abusive conduct against an official.

This type of behavior is unacceptable and is detrimental to the entire Bears team and the reputation of the NFL. Although football is generally a physically intense sport and adrenaline levels are high, players should still regard sportsmanship as an important value and control their conduct on the field. Other sports do not have as many issues with violent or disrespectful behavior, so control is possible despite the high tension environment involved in professional games.

It seems that some professional athletes feel licensed to display inappropriate behavior because of their statuses and salaries. Fining players for inappropriate conduct is not an effective way to discipline them because many of them don’t care about paying huge fines.

Professional athletes make millions of dollars per year, and although to the normal civilian a few thousand dollars seems like a lot of money, it’s pocket change for professional athletes.

Instead of using fines to punish players who are out of line, the NFL should enforce more suspensions to promote sportsmanship. By suspending players, the message of wrongdoing is stronger than fining them.

By suspending a player, they can’t participate in the game that they are passionate about. They also lose their game paycheck and risk losing endorsement deals if their bad behavior is chronic. Furthermore, if a star player is benched, their team may be more likely to lose the game.

Professional football players should realize their important status and be responsible for their actions during game play, and respect for referees and other players should be a priority for NFL players and teams.