Friday, September 14, 2007

Does the Punishment Fit the Crime Here?

The NFL has sometimes been called the No Fun League for handing down penalties against things like "excessive celebration" during games, but in the past few weeks, they've also handed down some penalties for much more serious violations. The question, though, is whether or not these penalties were meted out evenly. Here are the scenarios:

Wade Wilson. The Cowboys' quarterbacks coach was suspended for the first five games of the season and fined $100,000 a few weeks ago for violation of the league's substance abuse policy. Wilson, who's fought diabetes for years, was taking a substance to "improve the quality of his life," but was unaware that the substance was on the league's banned list. (It was even more of an embarrassment to Wilson when a subsequent story surfaced that he had tried the banned substance to treat impotence. And to add insult to injury, he barely used the substance because it messed with his blood sugar.)

It seems odd to me that a coach would be penalized for a "performance-enhancing substance," since it's not like he's on the field of play or anything, but the league maintains that coaches need to be held to an even higher standard because they set an example for the players.

Bill Belichick. This week, allegations surfaced that New England Patriots coaches had videotaped New York Jets coaches sending signals on the sideline to their players during a game last Sunday. The commissioner eventually announced that Patriots coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 in connection with the incident, and the team was also fined $250,000 and will have to forfeit some draft picks in 2008.

But nobody got suspended. Is that fair? Wade Wilson is wondering the same thing:
When Wade Wilson learned New England coach Bill Belichick would not miss any games for his role in "Spygate," the suspended Cowboys quarterbacks coach was puzzled.

"Being told coaches are held to higher authority, my intent was not to create an imbalance in competition," Wilson said. "Presumably, what the Patriots did was try to, so I'm wondering about the consistency."

[...]Wilson said the fines seem disproportionate when comparing his salary to Belichick's. The Patriots coach is believed to make $4.2 million a year, while Wilson makes a little over $300,000.

"I'm not trying to jump down the commissioner's back or bring Coach Belichick down," Wilson said. "I'd just like consistency from what I was told to what the next situation was."
Wilson is now deciding whether or not to appeal his suspension, but he'll defer to the wishes of the Cowboys organization in that matter. Meanwhile, Wilson is not not alone in wondering if a suspension for Belichick was in order.

So was justice administered equally here? Chime in using the comments.

My appetite was just de-feeted here: A worker at a Chinese buffet in New York state was discovered to be preparing garlic for the restaurant by stomping on it with his boots in the alley behind the restaurant. Someone took a picture of him doing so and notified the health department. (Key quote: "The health department does not consider a person's shoe or boot a proper instrument to use in food preparation, senior public health sanitarian John Stoughton said Tuesday.")

The agony of de feet: I love flip-flops, but there's now more than one reason that I don't buy them from Wal-Mart.

Stupid criminal of the week: Once again, a bank robber was caught after he wrote the holdup note on the back of one of his personal checks.

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