Pacman Jones was fined $35,000 for slamming another player's head into a helmet and his reaction is troubling

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones has been fined $US35,000 by the NFL for slamming Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper’s head onto his helmet during the teams’ Week 1 matchup. Geoff Hobson of first reported the news.

The play came during the second quarter, as Cooper was blocking Jones during a long run play for the Raiders.

First, Cooper appears to take a swing at Jones before the play ends:


Jones then wrestles Cooper to the ground, pulls his helmet off, and stuffs the standout rookie’s head into it. Flags were thrown, but Jones wasn’t ejected and the penalty was offset by another penalty on the same play.

Jones took to SportsCenter today to announce that he will appeal the fine. He said $US35,000 was too much money for a football play. He also said he couldn’t promise similar incidents wouldn’t happen in the future.

The decision to fine Jones, and Jones’ on-the-record unwillingness to change his behaviour going forward, are particularly interesting when you put them in the context of Roger Goodell’s recent comments regarding the importance of suspensions in the NFL. After Judge Berman overturned Tom Brady’s suspension, Goodell went on Mike & Mike to explain why suspensions are more important than fines, saying “fines don’t work.”

Said Goodell:

That’s why we want to make sure that in our decisions there are competitive consequences. Fines don’t work. Suspensions are important in those circumstances. Just as when we have competitive violations with teams, we just don’t fine, we actually normally focus in on draft choices or some other type of competitive discipline so that you can avoid this behaviour going forward, you can prevent this behaviour going forward.

The decision to fine — and not suspend — Jones for this incident seems then to directly contradicts Goodell’s fundamental belief that fines don’t work.

Of course, it’s far too early in the season to know whether this punishment for Jones is indicative of a larger shift in Goodell’s and the NFL’s discipline process, but at the very least it is certainly something to keep an eye on as the season progresses. 

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