I love the NFL. I think that it is better entertainment product than college football. I think it is better than the NBA or MLB. I love the physicality of the sport. I love the fact that you have to be smart. Where are the holes in the defense? Did you pick up the blitz? Did your running stone that blitzing linebacker or did he get run over? I love it all.
It is also important to mention that football is a violent game. Big men are running very fast and hitting other big men. Yet, I really, really don’t want to see violence outside of the framework of the game. Albert Haynesworth (video here) is an excellent example. He ripped a player’s helmet off and while the player was on the ground, he stomped on the player’s head with his cleated shoe. There was no excuse for that. None. (Here’s an article on many of the over the top violent acts in the NFL over the last decade or so.)
The Myles Garrett situation is different. Mason Rudolph was tackled by Myles Garrett. Rudolph did something to Myles as Myles was getting up. It appears that Mason tired to rip Garrett’s helmet off. Then all hell breaks lose. Punches are thrown. More guys enter the fight. Myles rips off Rudolph’s helmet then, with a huge wind up, nails Rudolph in the head with his helmet. Many other folks get sucked into the fight.
The NFL is violent enough. It does not need to be any more violent. Everyone involve should be suspended. Garrett should never, ever play in the NFL again. Playing in the NFL is a privilege. These players get to play a game for lots of money. There is nothing else in the world that Myles Garrett can do and be paid over $24 million. (He has made just over $24 million in his 3 years in the NFL.) Because you are playing a game that millions of Americans watch you must be held to a higher standard. When you break that standard you must pay the consequences. Everyone else who was involved in the fight needs to be fined and suspended. The NFL must send a clear signal that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.