Not everyone in sports is having a great a year as Carlos Boozer. Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan got into a fight in the midst of their NFL game, and the fight as well as the coverage it has received from the league point to a greater effort on the part of the National Football League to try to curtail violence. This to the average fan may seem like a strange tactic in a game that is basically a blood sport, a game that paralyzes players and breaks bones and delivers concussions all the time, but league officials are trying to promote player safety to a greater extent by discouraging the kind of tactics that lead to these injuries, such as certain tackling styles and, of course, fighting.
NFL Debate over Dirty Play
The Andre Johnson fight was a fourth quarter end to some back and forth jawing and pushing back and forth between Johnson and Cortland Finnegan, the Titans cornerback who had been assigned to the Texan receiver for many plays throughout the game. Though the Andre Johnson fight does show that neither player should quite his day job to try out for an NHL team, it also is one more reminder of this constant media and league attention that's been paid to the propensity to fight and the use of violence and dirty play in general in the NFL. Andre Johnson is thought of by most as a clean player and someone with a solid reputation, and if he can get dragged into something like this, it seems to demonstrate that a player like Finnegan can get under anyone's skin.
The league seems to be trying to stop players like Finnegan and Rodney Harrison of the Steelers from doing these things, poking and prodding at other players and delivering big hits to send a message, when for years this has been part of the game and many fans love it. The Andre Johnson fight is not something that is going to change Johnson's game or Finnegan's, and fans shouldn't expect either player to get into fights on the field anytime soon after their ejections. But in general things like these and on tough hits on receivers and quarterbacks especially seem to be getting a lot of attention. Normal people worry about how to buy car insurance online; NFL officials worry that football is too violent for viewers.
Violence in Pro Football
It is very strange the way the Andre Johnson fight and repeated fines to Harrison, for example, have cast a spotlight on this issue this season especially. Andre Johnson is an All Pro receiver and some call him the top in his position in the league. Does this mean that everyone in pro football is getting more violent? The game that Andre Johnson plays is violent by nature. The play ends usually when the ball carrier is tackled. It really should not come as much of a surprise when a fight creeps into a game once in a while, as much physical contact as there is between players on opposite teams over the course of the contest.
The Andre Johnson fight did not exactly highlight boxing skills for either player involved, and it didn't point to their future in ultimate fighting when their football careers are over. It was just another example of some things that have happened this season that have opened up or ignited this debate over dirty play and violence in general in the sport. How much is too much? Should the violent nature of the game be celebrated or minimized? The Andre Johnson fight was a microcosm of things going on across the league.