...this phrase almost takes on a new meaning if you've been paying attention to football news lately. It's what the NFL is calling Albert Haynesworth's actions in the Cowboys-Titans game that took place on Sunday. Personally, I don't think it's unnecessary roughness. Or flagrant unnecessary roughness, as the NFL termed it. It's downright criminal, but I applaud the NFL for describing it so... classically eloquent.
For those who haven't been paying attention, here's the rundown (or if you don't care, then go read something cute
because I'm about to talk about someone playing dirty on the field).
We've already got enough violence on the news, in the schools, because of the so-called war on terrorism - why do we need more violence on the football field when that's already a violent sport? A lot of big guys, some of whom can run really fast, slamming into each other (albeit, with protective gear on) in pursuit of a little ball that they need to get to the end of the field.
After a 5 yard touchdown for Dallas, Albert Haynesworth (of the Titans) managed to stomp the helmet off Andre Gurode (of the Cowboys), kick him in the head, and then purposely lifted his leg, and brought his foot (complete with shoe and spikes) down on Gurode's face. This resulted in Gurode needed 30 stitches around his eye, and probably a date with a plastic surgeon soon. Protective gear? That helmet sure didn't help Gurode considering Haynesworth was able to stomp it off his head. Gurode's probably lucky his neck wasn't broken (assuming he has a neck, because he's a pretty big guy).
It was caught completely on film, and was disgusting to see. And it was very clear that there was nothing accidental about it. Haynesworth has admitted that he was disgusted by his own actions, but I think that was only clear to him after he was ejected from the field because he threw a tantrum on the sidelines after he was pulled out of the game. I really don't think that he's very remorseful at all.
Since the incident there has been conjecture left and right over what the NFL is going to do to Haynesworth and they finally ruled yesterday. The Titans coach has said that if the NFL doesn't do something satisfactory, then they will take matters into their own hands. Personally, I hope that they do that anyway. The NFL has decided that Haynesworth (the thug) should be suspended without pay for 5 games.
Considering his yearly salary that's going to boil down to a $190K fine. I don't think that that's enough. I think he should be benched without pay for the rest of the season, and I'm hoping that Andre Gurode does what many are expecting (and hoping) he does - have criminal charges filed against Haynesworth. I suspect that if this had happened on any other field than the Titans own home turf he would have been arrested the minute that he left the field. Gurode is also thinking over a civil suit against Haynesworth and I wouldn't blame him if he did - after all, Gurode is probably going to need plastic surgery, and the guy raked his cleats down Gurode's face, thankfully missing his eye. There's got to be some ugly damage done there.
But this isn't about the damage to Gurode, although that is a significant focus here. This is about a thug who gets to play football and bash other big people around. A 6'6" 320 pound thug. He's had problems in the past with players on the field, but they've been out of the public eye because they've happened during practices. They're surely coming out into the public eye now, and I wish they'd been out there before. The guy fought with a teammate while he was a college sophmore and came back with a pole looking for the guy. He was talked out of whatever it was he was going to do, and was suspended for half a game. He kicked someone else during the 2003 Titans training camp. Charges involving a road rage incident were dropped earlier this year. The guy seems to be a ticking time bomb, and probably has some anger issues that need resolution.
I sincerely hope that some counselor somewhere isn't sitting and waiting to be dragged through the mud because they told Haynesworth that playing football would be a good way to get out his aggression. The guy needs to not be playing football - he needs to grow up and deal with things like an adult.
This will be the longest suspension for on-field behavior since 1986 when McMahon was picked up and thrown down by a Packers player - and that player only got a 2 game suspension. Supposedly it would have been longer, but Haynesworth was given credit for apologizing. I think his coach probably told him to apologize or he'd set the entire Dallas defensive line loose in the Titans locker room (total conjecture there on my part, but hey, I think that could have been fun to watch). Haynesworth is dangerous, no matter what progress his coach said he had been making over the last couple of years with his behavior. There's no excuse for what he did - it was assault, there was a weapon involved, unnecessary force was involved. His coach was appalled, his team was embarassed, the Titans fans were disgusted. Haynesworth's name is mud in the league among every other player that's out there. By doing what he did, he's probably now the most hated player in football. And deservedly so - I don't think there's very much he's going to be able to do to recover from this, unless he pledges his life to the priesthood. And follows through.
To hear tell of it, Andre Gurode did not say or do anything to provoke Haynesworth. He was just lying there on the ground and was assaulted out of the blue. It doesn't matter if he *did* say anything anyway; Haynesworth was way out of line, he broke the unwritten players code about respecting the other team. And the NFL is suspending him because he was way out of line. Haynesworth isn't going to appeal the decision, but apparently the NFL Player's Association raelly want him to appeal because of the length of the punishment. They may do so on his behalf. I don't think that the Player's Association should be appealing no matter what the decision is, and I hope they suffer some serious backlash as a result of it. By defending the idea that Haynesworth's punishment is extreme, they may be unwittingly condoning the idea that a violent act such as this shouldn't result in a month without his money, without his sport. But I have to agree with DH - the guy shouldn't be missing the next 5 games because of an lengthy NFL suspension....
...he should be missing the next 5 games because he's in jail.