On a seemingly normal Sunday, viewers across America sat to down to watch weekly NFL games that are budding with passion and fire. On Nov. 5, the NFL saw an unprecedented three fights break out with five players sent to the showers early. The three games that included fights were: the Arizona Cardinals v. the San Francisco 49ers, the Cincinnati Bengals v. the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New Orleans Saints v. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
For the Cardinals and the 49ers, the fighting ensued after a late hit on 49ers quarterback CJ Beathard. Carlos Hyde proceeded to get into defensive players’ faces and was slung to the ground by Frostee Rucker. These two athletes as well as the Cardinals’ Hassan Reddick were kicked out of the game.
The Bengals and Jaguars continued the overly passionate day with a fight between cornerback Jalen Ramsey of the Jaguars and the receiver he was guarding for the Bengals, AJ Green. With Ramsey consistently talking smack towards Green and jawing with other defensive players, frustrations overwhelmed. Ramsey knocked Green down during a play and Green proceeded to get up to body slam Ramsey and throw punches. The two teams jumped in to protect their star players. Both Ramsey and Green were thrown out.
Finally, in the Saints drubbing of the Buccaneers and the tension for the losing team mounting, a skirmish on the sideline broke out. The Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston made contact with Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore’s helmet. Lattimore pushed Winston and was proceeded to be quickly knocked to the turf with a blind side hit by Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans. Benches cleared and coaches even got involved as Saints’ coach Sean Payton sprinted towards the opposite sideline. Surprisingly, no one was sent to the locker room.
The fighting for sports teams needs to stop. Many sports, such as hockey, boxing or wrestling definitely are defined with fighting, becoming a part of the sport. However, most other sports—including the contact heavy sport of football—should not have fighting explode to cause issues.
Most team sports are very passionate and intense. Teams are committed to winning and not suffering a loss, which leads to great tensions. I will admit that in my short high school basketball career, I felt that passion and anger that goes along with any sport. So, anyone can be sucked into the game and get lost in the passion. Dealing with anger and not letting passion and tensions get to you is part of everyday life and something all adults need to learn to do. This is true for professional athletes as they too should act like adults at all times. Professional athletes are being paid to perform on the field and help lead their team to victory; when they get into fights, they are sacrificing their presence on the field or court.
Specifically in the NFL, fighting should be addressed harshly. In recent years, the NFL has come down hard on players for domestic violence, as it should. Players including Ray Rice and Ezekiel Elliot have been suspended for their role in fighting off the turf. Meanwhile, the NFL is condoning the fighting that is occurring on the field by not giving harsh punishments for it. For example, for his role in the fight, Green will not be suspended any games, but will receive a fine. For NFL players who make millions of dollars every year, this fine is nothing. The NFL needs to come down harder on player fighting.
Professional athletes need to be treated no different than any other person on this earth. Violence is violence no matter the situation. With men going to prison for assault and battery every day, athletes need to be held responsible for their actions. Young fans are seeing this fighting and viewing it as entertaining. In fact, Jay Busbee of Yahoo Sports wrote an article titled, “What was the NFL fight of the day?” This just leads children and teens to accept fighting willingly and think it is cool. A huge influence for teens is the media and with fighting coming across the screen for many of the games in the NFL on Sunday they are being affected by it.
Fighting as a professional athlete, in a sport not distinguished for it, is immature and sets a bad example for the next generation of athletes.