If Roger Goodell is going to continue to act as the unilateral force of justice in the NFL, he’d better at least be fair about it. As any Pittsburgh fan will tell you, Goodell has spent considerable time trying to weed out violent behavior and inflammatory language, focusing on some teams more heavily than others. Recent comments from Washington’s DeAngelo Hall will test the breadth of Goodell’s application of discipline.
True, these are mere words. Hall hasn’t unleashed any illegal hits like Goodell’s favorite target, James Harrison. But this kind of language has no place in the NFL. By essentially putting a bounty on any and all injured players, Hall comes off as little more than a thug.
“Absolutely. I want to get a chance to put my helmet on whatever’s hurt. Romo’s ribs — I’m going to be asking for some corner blitzes. If I know Felix Jones’ shoulder’s hurt, I’m not going to cut him. I’m definitely going to try to hit him up high, so that’s just part of it.
If you know something’s wrong with an opponent, you’re going to try to target in on that. We’re going to try to definitely get as many hits on that team as possible.”
Put aside for a moment the fact that Hall is telegraphing his strategy, which in itself is a stupid move. By announcing that he’s seeking to injure or worsen existing problems for his peers, he’s marking himself as a target both on the field and for Goodell’s reprisals. Hall will be under a microscope throughout Saturday’s game, assuming he even makes it that far without being summoned for a one-on-one with the head man.
If Goodell really wants to make and keep the NFL clean, eliminating this kind of nonsense is an excellent place to start. Hall deserves a lecture at the least, and perhaps something more memorable.
And regardless of what happens this week, he should hardly be surprised if he’s the one who leaves Saturday’s game with some additional aches and pains.