Hey, let's look at this together:
That's the hit that Jon Bostic put on Willis in the Chargers-Bears game last Thursday. This hit led to the announcement today that Jon Bostic, who has yet to receive a game check, was fined $21,000, particularly incensing Lance Briggs:
Shaking my head moment. Nfl fines jon bostic 21k for his clean hit against the chargers.— Lance Briggs (@LanceBriggs) August 21, 2013
The problem? When it happened, everyone thought it was a good clean football play. The announcers go nuts, folks on twitter went nuts, the community here went nuts.
So comes the story that the NFL is hypocritical. This CBS Sports article shows how the NFL has scrubbed it's use of the word "spectacular" to describe the hit, in the wake of the fine:
Now here's the weird part of the story, the NFL has a clip of Bostic's hit on the league's official website and in the caption below the clip, the hit is referred to as a 'spectacular' one. The NFL also used the word spectacular in the headline.
Of course, as soon as the fine was announced, Twitter pointed out the hypocrisy of calling a hit spectacular, but then still fining the player for said hit. At that point the NFL changed the caption and the headline faster than the NCAA store scrubbed player names from its search engine.
Naturally, other people on twitter, notably former players/analysts had a problem with that. Per Zach Zaidman, this is what sources tell him was the ruling put into effect:
Two league sources say Jon Bostic was fined for violating NFL Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7 (b) (2): Lowering the head and making forcible..— Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman) August 21, 2013
...contact with the top/crown or forehead/"hairline" parts of the helmet against any part of the defenseless player's body...— Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman) August 21, 2013
And the beloved Bowen:
Handing out a $21k fine to #Bears LB Jon Bostic is ridiculous...That's a clean, hard tackle from my perspective.— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) August 21, 2013
Here's the NFL's problem--they can't have their cake and eat it too.
They can't celebrate the big hits of the NFL - which are part of the game -- and then hem and haw about safety when they decide that they need to make sure the image on concussions is consistent.
Look at that gif again--he takes multiple steps and advances the ball--how defenseless can he be?
One of the most important courts for the NFL is the court of public opinion - tell us what you think?