The historic fine levied against Ndamukong Suh for a low block on Vikings center John Sullivan has been upheld according to the Associated Press. The fine of $100,000 was, at the time, the largest fine ever handed down for on-field play. Since then, that fine has been equaled by the $100,000 fine of Dashon Goldson.
It's no surprise that the fine was upheld. In fact, the surprise would have come had the fine been lessened.
Still the message that such illegal and dangerous play will not be tolerated has been sent before. The league has been using fines for years, and at this point, those fines have done little to curb illegal hits, especially in regard to the league's elite players.
There are a number of problems with the league's practice of fining players for illegal hits. First and foremost, the NFL has done a very poor job of making their procedure for fining players transparent. Some fine-worthy plays appear to go unpunished while others are hammered with huge fines, especially if the hit comes at the hands of a repeat offender such as Suh.
The other issue is simple economics. Ndamukong Suh is currently working under a five-year contract that contains $40 million in guaranteed money. In addition, Suh can earn up to $20 million more, making the deal worth a maximum of $60 million.
So, in the grand scheme of Suh's bank statement, will the loss of $100,000 hurt? No, probably not. The fine may be a minor annoyance to the Lions' star, but it's not going to alter his lifestyle in the slightest.
There's still no clear solution for the NFL in regard to fining players to change behavior, but the current system didn't work when it was put into place, and it's still not working. Fines are great for charity, but they do little to make the game safer.