It’s a good thing Kevin Mawae isn’t playing in the NFL anymore. If he were, he might be facing a stiff scolding from commissioner Roger Goodell for remarks he made about fines and suspensions for players charged with flagrant hits.
In a nutshell, Mawae, the president of the NFL Players Association who retired in September after 16 years as a player, said, “I think the skirts need to be taken off in the NFL offices.”
Here’s more of what he told ESPN Radio in Los Angeles, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette: “I’ve told our executive committee and our members that I cannot and will not support the commissioner for fining our players for making hits that are within the legal rules in the NFL game. I understand helmet-to-helmet contact hits. I understand the flagrant launching at a player with the crown of your helmet before a player who is playing in the game acting instinctively, dropping the shoulder and hitting a player coming across the middle or trying to run the ball and it be considered a vicious or violent hit because of some uncharted standard. I cannot and will not and the NFLPA will not support it.
“There is a way to play the game and that is within the rules of the game. If our players are playing within the rules, and for the commissioner and for the NFL to say that they are going to increase fines because of hits (that) seem to be vicious or violent, I think it’s ridiculous and I think the skirts need to be taken off in the NFL offices.”
It’s no surprise the players’ association is backing its membership when it comes to increased fines and the possibility of suspensions and lost pay. But rather than being confrontational, it might have been better for Mawae to seek out Goodell and seek a middle ground or a clearer understanding of what constitutes an illegal hit.