Polamalu renews call for player input on fines
CINCINNATI (AP) – Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is renewing his call to let NFL players help decide fines for flagrant hits.
And, he’s getting some support from a receiver he leveled the last time they met.
Polamalu called for a “more democratic” system during his guest appearance Tuesday night on “The T.Ocho Show,” which features Bengals receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco on Versus cable. Polamalu decked Owens after a catch during Pittsburgh’s 27-21 win in Cincinnati a day earlier.
Polamalu was patched into the show, which is taped on the players’ day off. The topic of fines for flagrant hits came up quickly.
“I think 99.9 percent of the players would agree that we need to come up with a better system on how we fine players,” Polamalu said. “I think current players should be involved, coaches should be involved as well as front office people, including the commissioner.
“I think a more democratic approach to these fines would be better.”
Polamalu first floated his idea last week when teammate James Harrison got his third fine of the season for a questionable hit, pushing his total to $100,000. Polamalu said the league’s recent crackdown on flagrant hits has resulted in paranoia.
Commissioner Roger Goodell was in Cincinnati before the Monday night game and shot down the suggestion of letting current players decide punishment.
“There are league executives involved and there are former players involved,” Goodell said. “I think having active players and active front office executives is something the competition committee has always frowned on.”
Goodell emphasized that he’s not part of the punishment and appeals process, which was developed with the players’ association.
Owens – wearing a shaggy wig that mimicked Polamalu’s hair – supported the safety’s call for more player involvement.
“I would totally agree,” Owens said. “I think this is definitely where players should definitely use our voices in situations like this, and this is only just one of many topics that needs to be addressed.”
The three players had a friendly exchange one day after their hard-hitting game. On the Bengals’ final, futile drive, Owens caught a pass and was immediately leveled by Polamalu.
“He speaks softly, but he hits hard,” Owens said. “And believe me, he tried to de-cleat me last night.”