Last weekend, two suspended NFL players attended their teams games…as spectators. Aqib Talib of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Leroy Hill of the Seattle Seahawks went to their teams games and sat in the stands as their teams played out on the field. Neither player had contact with their team at all during last Sunday’s games. One problem, as a suspended player, the NFL prohibits you from even being in the stadium as a spectator.
Hill sat in the stands during the Seahawks 31-6 victory over the San Francisco 49’ers. Coach Pete Carroll was unaware of the rule, however said Hill should have been aware of the rule. Hill said he wasn’t aware of the rule and thought he was ok watching from the stands. He did not have any contact with his team. As far as Talib is concerned, he sat in a private suite, so he was a little more conspicuous about his attendance, however still had no contact with the team nor went to the locker room.
So this leads me to the NFL. Why do they have an issue with suspended players attending their own teams games? In this case both players avoided all contact with the team. These players take the seat as a fan, not a player when they enter the stadium and sit amongst the other 50,000 people there to cheer on their respective teams. I personally have no issue with these players attending the games as long as it was on their own dime and they continued to have no contact with their teams.
From the NFL’s standpoint I get the idea they probably don’t want to chance a player having any contact with the team, but at what point do you stop policing the players? These players are on their own time, their own dime, and the last time I checked, they committed no crime that prohibits their movement within society.
The No Fun League strikes again. These two incidents no doubt will prove to be a learning for many in the NFL whom I am sure where not aware of this ridiculous rule. I hope both players get off with nothing more than a small fine, because they had no contact with their teams and in both cases, appeared to be an innocent attedance. Unfortunately the NFL doesn’t buy the idea of ignorance as an excuse. What is applied on the field, must be applied off the field. Make no bones about it, these players did break a rule. A rule is a rule, but seriously NFL….lighten up!