Tenessee Titans quarterback Vince Young threw his pads into the stands after sustaining an injury in Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins. Young may be out for the season after tearing a tendon in his thumb, and a poll on the CBS website Monday night said that 86 percent of fans wanted him off the Titans team permanently. The Titans eventually lost the game to the Redskins in overtime, but the bigger question is: What will happen tin Vince Young after this latest meltdown?
Other players who have melted down in recent years have faced various consequences. Vancouver Canucks hockey player Rick Rypien was suspended for six games earlier this year after he grabbed a fan in the stands on his way off the ice, NHL.com reported. It is unclear what the fan did to rile up Rypien, who had just received a double minor penalty for roughing and a 10-minute game misconduct penalty, but it is clear what the NHL’s opinion is of player-to-fan contact.
There were even calls for Rypien to serve a longer suspension. Some people called for as many as 20 games to send a message to other NHL players who might be tempted to have a go at people in the stands. As the report says, the fans are the paying customers, and grabbing them is never appropriate.
The NFL, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to take things as seriously as the NHL. Earlier in the year, New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs threw his helmet at the bench in frustration; it slipped out of his hand and flew 10 rows deep into the stands. The NFL was very quick to brand it an accident and did nothing about the incident. While no one was injured, the danger posed to fans is clear, and the NFL should have taken a more severe view of the incident, even though it was an accident.
Tom Brady has had his fair share of tantrums over the years as well, most recently complaining about the refs at the game between the Colts over the weekend. He complained that the Colts defensive line was trying to make the Patriots offense jump offside by saying “hut hut.” He has famously complained to the refs on other occasions as well. Earlier in the season, Brady threw a tantrum and got involved with a ref and a linebacker during the Patriots’ win over the Baltimore Ravens. Brady has not been punished for either incident.
So what is likely to happen to Vince Young after the most recent NFL temper tantrum? The precedent set by Jacobs and Brady this season seems to make it likely that Young will get away with throwing a tantrum on the sidelines, or at least face very minimal punishment for his actions. While Young never directly attacked a fan, the NFL should take a leaf out of the NHL’s book and send a message that immaturity and side line temper tantrums will not be tolerated. Maybe a few games worth of suspension and a large fine will help Young think about what he’s done and send a message to the rest of the players that you need to grow up or get out.