NFL star J.J. Watt expressed frustration over excessive fines for unnecessary roughness in the league, stating that players are being penalized for routine football plays.
He questioned the purpose of these fines, suggesting they might be related to future collective bargaining agreements or the NFL’s desire to appear tough on violence.
Watt highlighted instances where players were fined for what seemed like regular plays and criticized a lack of clarity in the process.
“I’ve been on the other ends of these fines. I’ve gotten some of these fines. There’s some of them that have been legit – there’s no doubt about it,” Watt said.
“There’s definitely plays that are legitimately … I understand why they’re fining and why we’re trying to get some of those things out of the game.”
“But what’s happening now? These plays that we’re fining guys for, and we’re taking tens of thousands of dollars out of their pockets because of routine football plays. Things that happen throughout the course of the game. It is mind blowing to me.”
“And I know these guys can’t really say anything because if they speak up, now, they’re gonna get fined for speaking up about it. … When you have to run the play back 10 times to figure out which guy even got fined, like what’re we doing here?”
Watt believes the NFL may be “posturing for the next CBA” or simply wants to look as if they have “tried to stop the violence.”
NFL Players Association president J.C. Tretter echoed these concerns, emphasizing the need for a more sensible approach to fines and advocating for clearer rules and player rights.
“By simply creating a new point of emphasis, the NFL can rack up hundreds of escalating fines on players,” Tretter wrote. “This is an approach that does not make sense and is leading to money coming out of players’ pockets for things that, often, they are being coached to execute. In short, players feel this has become less about player safety and more about being overly punitive. ”
“We also need to work with the NFL to revisit and review the current system and do a better job of advocating for common sense application of the rules,” he added.
“If eliminating dangerous play is the overall goal, then the current system we have is not fully achieving it. Instead, it is being applied and enforced at the expense of creating confusion and frustration among players and fans. We should be able to come together and find a solution.”
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