News broke late last week of Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin handing former linebacker James Harrison an envelope after receiving a $75,000 fine for hitting Cleveland Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. Of course the initial reaction was to compare the Tomlin-Harrison payment to the Bountygate scandal that left a black mark on the New Orleans Saints organization.
However, this comparison to Bountygate just doesn’t hold up. The Saints were accused of allegedly paying players to “hurt” opposing players by placing a bounty. In Harrison’s case the play was never even flagged, and later the player was fined $75,000 for his actions on the field by the league. While these types of plays seen above should be flagged and fined, this was not a bounty-type situation. Instead, Tomlin slipped Harrison money for the fine on the unflagged hit.
Now, with all that being said, the Steelers organization should be held accountable for paying a player’s fine. The idea of the fines imposed are to dissuade players on taking illegal shots on opposing players and help make the game safer for all involved. When a team circumvents the league’s form of justice, then the NFL is forced into taking steps backwards in making the game safer.
New Orleans head coach Sean Payton fully believes that Envelope-gate will brushed under the rug by the league. Who can blame him? If this were the Saints there would have already been a full investigation launched with Commissioner Roger Goodell’s henchmen standing on the front porch on Airline.
Sean Payton, who was suspended for the 2012 season in wake of the 'Bountygate' scandal, on James Harrison's story of Mike Tomlin handing him an envelope after a big hit: “That’ll be something that’s tucked away under the rug at Park Avenue” https://t.co/4NekPajorj pic.twitter.com/G8YEg9CGYc— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) May 15, 2020
Despite your thoughts and feelings on the matter of fines, increased penalty flags and the notion of changing the game to make it safer, one things remains the same: all teams must play by the same rules.
These actions by Pittsburgh actively degraded what the league is trying to accomplish, and it will be interesting to see the scope of the NFL’s response.
What do you make of the James Harrison envelope drama and the connection to Bountygate? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @KadeKistner.