Following an almost-excruciatingly ugly-to-watch Steelers vs. Bengals Monday Night Football game this week, Roger Goodell and the NFL handed down their seemingly weekly suspensions, which included two plays from the Monday Night game. The first was on a brutal hit by Juju Smith-Shuster on Vontaze Burfict followed by a shot from George Iloka on Antonio Brown’s late-touchdown. Both players were given one-game suspensions and a notch off their reputation belt.
The other suspension came on a head-scratching Rob Gronkowski WWE-esqe move on the Buffalo Bills Tre’Davious White following an interception. See below:
Not really sure what Gronk was doing here. The move was described as “savage” and I’m going to include another word for it, which is “stupid”. Here’s another word. “Idiotic”. Lumped together, one of the three suspensions was not like the other (the Gronk one), yet they all warranted the same discipline.
This triggered a reaction today from Pittsburgh Steelers free safety, Mike Mitchell, who is known for his fair share of dirty plays as well. He was asked about the suspensions during media availability this afternoon.
Mike Mitchell was asked a question this afternoon- his 2 minute, 45 second answer was very direct. "This is football." pic.twitter.com/hUHpcE8DUa
— Jaime Baker (@JBaker_WTAJ) December 6, 2017
Mike Mitchell, unfiltered, on league policing hits: ‘This is not damn football.’ pic.twitter.com/qUPSdOPRQy
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) December 6, 2017
There is a lot to take in from Mitchell during his 2-minute, 45-second rant.
He starts by describing himself and George Iloka as physical safeties who end up making “dirty plays” because of their role as the last line of defense on the field.
“This is football”. Mitchell then goes on to discuss the reality of the NFL being a physical league and most dirty plays resulting from quarterback or wide receiver error, including a specific example of his hit on Tyler Eifert two years ago.
Mitchell then talks about Matt Hassleback calling him a dirty player and refers to him as an “a–hole”. I’ll leave that one for you to decide, Nation.
Finally, Mitchell ends his speech with what I think is the most important point of the entire rant. He discusses the need for the players to take some of the blame and be better when it comes to signing the next CBA and the disappointment in Roger Goodell and the NFL’s inconsistent suspension policy. The same Roger Goodell, who mere hours later, signed a 5-year, $200 million contract extension to remain commissioner of the league through 2023.
The current Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire in 2021 and the NFL Player’s Association is already warning players to start saving money for a potential lockout due to the rush of signing the CBA back in 2011. One major focus will be a consistent suspensions policy for in-game accidental hits compared to the astonishing late-hit from Rob Gronkowski. Either way, Mike Mitchell makes some solid points and, if anything, has broken a 4th-wall that the players have kept up regarding the suspension policy that has been under ridicule for the last few months.
What do you think, Nation? Does Mike Mitchell make a good point?