Sunday’s Andre Johnson fight was mostly started by Cortland Finnegan. Yet the Andre Johnson fight had both players throwing punches with their helmets off. It was clear that Johnson and Finnegan would be punished by Roger Goodell, although no one knew if one would get it worse than the other or how severe it would be. Since one player’s next game was scheduled for Thursday night, Goodell had to act more quickly than usual. As it turned out, the Cortland Finnegan-Andre Johnson fight merely had both players get fines instead of suspensions.
Although the brawl cast a pall over the Titans-Texans game, and much of the weekend in general, the ultimate punishment was worse than it could have been. Both players were docked $25,000, and will not be suspended for their next game.
For Johnson, the punishment is a relief, or at least isn’t a worst-case scenario. He will still be allowed to help the Texans against the Eagles Thursday night after all. He was the only one to land punches in the battle, but he got it no worse than Finnegan.
Perhaps the most puzzling thing is how Finnegan didn’t get a worse fine than Johnson, even though the fight might have been his creation. Various reports allege that Finnegan was trying to goad Johnson, and even said “Watch this” to the Texans sideline seconds earlier. His constant hands to the face – and ability to not be flagged for it – finally made the Texans’ receiver snap.
Nevertheless, the fight did not garner an extreme, or unequal, punishment from Goodell. In fact, it was on par with the last time a player struck someone, as Oakland’s Richard Seymour also lost $25,000 for striking Ben Roethlisberger a week earlier. However, both players had their helmets on, and didn’t get as heated as Finnegan and Johnson.
Fines have been a big part of the NFL season, as has been the debate on how Goodell hands them out. His new policy of higher fines and suspensions for hard hits has been very controversial, especially when James Harrison is involved. Yet his fines were stiffer than the ones handed out yesterday – and even stiffer than those the Broncos got for their videotaping scandal days ago.
The Andre Johnson fight and its aftermath are relatively new for the Texans’ receiver, as he has rarely gotten in trouble like this before. Yet, for Finnegan, this is old hat, as he has been fined multiple times for dirty play. But they will each live to fight another day this week, as Johnson can now head right out to Philadelphia in two days.
YouTube- “Cortland Finnegan and Andre Johnson Fight! (ALL CAMERA ANGLES)”
SB Nation- “Andre Johnson Fight With Cortland Finnegan Results In $25,000 Fine”