By Kaleb Page
The game of football is a violent game. No matter what the rules are or advancements made in the name of player safety; the game will always be a violent one. Within the confines of this modern-day gladiator sport, there has to be the mindset to play hard nonstop but at the same time there should be no intent to hurt someone intentionally.
Dominic Raiola is one of the key pieces to the offensive line of the Detroit Lions. As the center and a veteran in the league, Raiola is key in getting the line in sync and making protection calls to protect star quarterback Matthew Stafford. This past Sunday in a key divisional match-up with the rival Chicago Bears Raiola made a play that will compromise that offensive line.
After a short run that was stuffed by the Bears, the pile was still on the ground and the play was just ending. For Raiola it was an opportunity to take a shot at a downed player. Bears defensive lineman Ego Ferguson was still on the ground when Raiola ran off to the side where Ferguson was on the ground. As Raiola went to pass Ferguson he took a hop and stomp down on Ferguson’s ankle. This action instantly got the Bears furious and words exchanged between Raiola and Bears players.
Monday Raiola’s actions were punished by the NFL at the tune of one game without pay for the final week battle between the Lions and Packers. A game that will decide the division winner for the NFC North. The thing about this one game suspension that is leaving those not only in the league surprised but national analysts as well is that this isn’t the first time Raiola has acted this way.
Watching ESPN First Take this morning, both Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith agreed that suspending Raiola only a game is not enough. Just months ago Raiola was seen throwing a punch to the back of a defensive lineman for the Patriots head and then as the final kneel down was made he went at that same players’ knees intentionally (he admitted it himself). Over the course of his career Raiola has had up to six run-ins with the NFL league office sending him some sort of fine for his actions on the field. That is why many are thinking just a one game suspension isn’t sending the message to Raiola.
Antonio Pierce was a guest on First Take and brought up an interesting discussion point. He brought up what would happen to a defensive player if this same scenario happened, say a defensive lineman stomped on Tom Brady’s or Peyton Manning’s ankle; then what? Would there still be a one game suspension? He highly doubted that and I would have to agree with him. If the league really wanted to punish Raiola it should have been at least this final game and the Lions first playoff game (possibly even the entire playoffs).
If you haven’t had the chance to see the stomp by Raiola here is a video to show that along with some further commentary (start at 36 seconds).
After reading this post, seeing the video and its commentary, what are your thoughts? Think it was intentional? Think more punishment should have been issued? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.