Are NFL players getting out of control?

Davin Roy, Contributing Writer

Every Sunday from the first week of September to the first of February, many Americans turn on their televisions to watch one of the most popular sports leagues in the country, the National Football League (NFL). The NFL has done wonders, seeing stars such as JJ Watt disrupting NFL offenses while giving back to his community, Derrick Henry succeeding on the field and not being cocky about it, and Alex Smith coming back to play football after almost losing his leg in a gruesome injury in 2018. All of these players have something in common, along with a lot of other NFL players — they are role models for communities and individuals across America and the world. However, not all of these players are people that kids should be looking up to. There have been many instances of players fighting on the field especially in recent years.

In 2015, New York Giants wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr. and Carolina Panthers cornerback, Josh Norman, could not keep their hands off of each other, ultimately leading to multiple fights throughout the game. Beckham received three personal fouls while Norman received two throughout the game.

In 2017, Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback, Jalen Ramsey, and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver, AJ Green, got into a fight which included tackling the turf and even punches thrown to the head. Both players were ejected for the rest of the game.

Also in 2017, New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore and Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver, Mike Evans, got into a scuffle where Lattimore shoved Evans from behind and Evans retaliated by ripping Lattimore’s helmet off. Lattimore received a 15-yard penalty and Evans received nothing.

These fights are nothing compared to a fight from week 12 of the 2019 season.

Last season’s Week 12 presentation of Thursday Night Football, which was nationally covered, was a 21-7 victory for the Cleveland Browns over the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the final few minutes of the game. A brawl broke out between the two teams: punches were thrown, benches cleared, players tackled each other, and Brown defensive end Myles Garrett ripped off the helmet of Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and hit him in the head with his own helmet.

One of the commentators of that game, Joe Buck, said that it was “One of the worst things I’ve ever seen on a professional sports field.”

Suspensions were given out because of the scuffle, Garrett facing the harshest punishment, being suspended for the remainder of the 2019 season. Garrett has returned this season after speculations of the NFL extending his suspension.

Yet again another fight took over the headlines of the NFL. In week eight of the NFL season, Chicago Bears wide receiver, Javon Wims, went up to New Orleans Saints cornerback, CJ Gardner-Johnson and punched him in the face twice for no apparent reason. Wims is suspended for the next two games following the fight. Chicago Bears head coach, Matt Nagy, after the game said, “I am really, really bothered by that third-quarter incident. That bothers me. I’m being completely honest with you guys. It bothers me.”

Wims’s teammate, Akiem Hicks, also spoke out on the altercation, “I think that I’ve lost my cool before, ya know?” he said. “It’s part of the game. The elite, and if you want to be elite, you have to be able to control some of those moments. You have to be able to put whatever emotion you’ve got going on in a pocket. Because your team needs more.”

The NFL needs to get these players under control. Like many other Americans, I love to turn on my television and watch the best football players in the world, but I hate watching these fights. If I wanted to watch the fights, I would just watch UFC. Football is a sport that should let the game take care of any potential hatred that certain players have for each other, they should not resort to fighting. What is even worse is that there are millions of children who watch the NFL every weekend and witness these fights. Many kids have dreams of becoming NFL players and they want to be like them. What if kids start getting into fights because they see NFL players doing that and they think it is ok or think it is just what NFL players do. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should give out more serious fines and suspension periods for players involved in fights because there needs to be fewer of them. These fights can potentially injure players for multiple weeks, poison the minds of younger NFL viewers, and give the NFL and football as a whole a bad reputation. The fights are getting out of control and something doesn’t need to be done next season, something needs to be done right now.