Fittest loser
Article posted: 8/23/2013 5:00 AM

NFL's fine for Bears' Bostic ridiculous

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By Mike North

LAS VEGAS -- The NFL has started its campaign of unfair fines and fingering defenders for seemingly legitimate hits because someone upstairs was given the job to soften the game.

At its best, this legislation is designed to protect the offensive player. At its worst, this approach not only hurts the defensive player but also confuses him.

The $21,000 fine for Jon Bostic epitomizes how ridiculous the tenure of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has become, as well as the league's stance on head injuries.

If you didn't see Bostic's hit, you need to check it out. Then I want you to tell me if the rookie is being treated unfairly.

San Diego Charger wide receiver Mike Willie caught a short pass on a curl pattern right off the line of scrimmage. After he caught the ball, he secured it and took two steps forward with intentions of taking it to the house. Bostick, the middle linebacker, read the play, was in the right place at the right time and nailed Willie.

Yes, he did lower his head, but it wasn't head to head contact. It was a perfectly executed football hit.

I didn't hear anyone moan about it being illegal except the San Diego announcer, who made a comment at the end of the play. No doubt the league looked at it and agreed with that announcer.

Wow! No one else saw a cheap shot or bad hit. I was watching the ESPN pregame show and Chris Berman, Mike Ditka, Cris Carter, Keyshawn Johnson and Tom Jackson happened to be commenting how Miami Dolphin tight end Dustin Keller was knocked out with a low hit to the knees delivered by Houston Texan rookie D.J. Swearinger. They said -- in unison -- hitting around the knees was the worst thing you can do to a guy on the football field.

Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez, a friend of Keller, argues this type of "legal" hit shouldn't even be allowed.

I'm sorry -- you can't hit around the head or shoulders and you can't hit around the knees?

Bostic hit high and he's fined heavily, but Willie wasn't injured. Swearinger wasn't fined even though Keller is out for the year with a blown knee because the league allows this type of low hit.

The panel, which includes two Pro Football Hall of Fame members in Ditka and Carter, said you should hit high.

Keller's career could be ruined, and it sounds to me like they would take a concussion over a potentially career ending knee injury. The panel noted you can return from a concussion in two weeks.

Now, according to the NFL rules, the only place you can hit a guy is from his waist to his breast bone.

You have to be kidding me!

The lines are too gray for defensive players. The league better step in because the knees are the moneymakers for players. Hitting high will save careers, hitting knees could end them.

What's a defender to do? Stay tuned.

Programming note:

The Mike North Pregame Show will debut Sept. 8 on WIND 560-AM The Answer from 10 a.m. to noon.

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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