There’s no way of knowing when NFL football will return. But when it does, the league will be far less hesitant in handing down suspensions to players who are found guilty of administering an illegal hit.
The league’s preeminent disciplinarian Ray Anderson told reporters in a conference call recently that the league will take more dramatic measures in punishing offenders in the future. Last season, the league dished out fines to offenders of up to $75,000, but never suspended anyone; the league views suspensions as the next logical step.
"Frankly, now that the notice has been given, players and coaches and clubs are very aware of what the emphasis is and we won't have that hesitation," Anderson said, per ESPN. "Everyone will be very clearly on notice now that a suspension is very viable for us and we will exercise it ... when it comes to illegal hits to the head and neck area and to defenseless players. ...
"We want to be much more clear on what can be a suspendable incident," Anderson said. "The emphasis is on head and neck hits and what a defenseless player is. And we will work hard that people understand what is a repeat offender and what is a flagrant foul."
The league defines a repeat offender based on reviews of a player’s past two seasons. A “defenseless player” will be defined as follows:
• A quarterback in the act of throwing;
• A receiver trying to catch a pass;
• A runner already in the grasp of tacklers and having his forward progress stopped;
• A player fielding a punt or a kickoff;
• A kicker or punter during the kick;
• A quarterback at any time after change of possession;
• A receiver who receives a blind-side block;
• A player already on the ground.
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