Two Denver defensive players were issued fines from the NFL for hits on Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton during Thursday night’s season opener.
Prior to issuing the fines for illegal hits to the head of Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton, the NFL released a statement funding a new concussion initiative. As a part of the program, the league and owners will fund $100 million in support of engineering advancements and medical research. The new announcement is in addition to another $100 million already pledged by the league for medical and neuroscience research.
The ‘Play Smart, Play Safe’ initiative also encompasses the hiring of a physician to serve as the NFL’s chief medical officer. The individual appointed will work with each teams medical staff and develop an advisory board to consider head injury research proposals.
Following the announcement, two players were levied fines for their illegal hits on Thursday night. The Carolina Panthers quarterback and reigning league MVP absorbed multiple hits to his helmet during the game. However, the officiating crew penalized only one hit that was eventually disallowed due to an offsetting intentional grounding penalty.
Broncos’ safety, Darian Stewart, was fined $18,231 for his fourth quarter hit to Newton that drew a flag. Linebacker Brandon Marshall was docked $24,309 for leaving his feet and launching himself into Newton’s facemask. The hit occurred following a pass, but did not warrant a flag from the on-field officiating crew. However, afterwards the NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino agreed that a penalty flag was warranted on the play.
Both the NFL and NFLPA have released statements regarding investigations into Thursday’s events. Unless the NFL begins to issue suspensions, instead of fines, teams may feel that the risk is worth the reward. Stewart’s fine accumulates 0.007 percent of his 2016 salary and Marshall’s 0.009 percent. By comparison, an individual making $50,000 a year would pay approximately $400 for a similar penalty. Following the details revealed from “Bountygate”, the NFL should be aware that these minuscule fines have little effect.