Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Andre Johnson, Cortland Finnegan Fined $25,000 Each for Fight

Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan each received $25,000 for their roles in a fight during Sunday's Texans win over the Titans, but neither player will be suspended for the incident, according to multiple reports.

Johnson and Finnegan were both ejected from Sunday's game after exchanging blows midway through the fourth quarter. The two quickly became entangled at the end of a play with Johnson ripping off Finnegan's helmet, then Finnegan responding in kind and throwing Johnson's helmet several yards away. Johnson then punched Finnegan multiple times before officials stepped in.

After the game, Johnson apologized to the Texans organization and fans, saying, "I just lost my cool and I wish that I could take back what happened, but I can't."

After practice on Monday, Johnson said that he doesn't plan to appeal the fine.

"I'm happy that I'm not suspended, but at the same time, I'm not happy about my actions," he said.

Finnegan has been fined several times by the NFL in the past, while Johnson had a relatively clean record -- he was fined $7,500 last season for throwing Finnegan to the ground by his face mask. Both players could have been suspended under NFL rules.

But instead, they will each deal with what is, in reality, a fairly small penalty -- to put it in some perspective, Philadelphia's Will Witherspoon was recently fined $40,000 for a hit on Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb, while James Harrison was tagged was a $75,000 fine for knocking out Cleveland's Mohamed Massaquoi with a helmet-to-helmet shot and $20,000 for a hit on Drew Brees.

All of those penalties fell under the NFL's crackdown on dangerous plays, however. The fight between Johnson and Finnegan apparently did not, leading to the minimal fines.

Finnegan said on his radio show Monday evening he would appeal the fine, and added that Johnson "snapped" during the incident. He also said Johnson did a lot of trash-talking.

Asked why he didn't throw a punch, Finnegan said, "This is the NFL, not the NHL."

Finnegan, who has been fined at least three times previously this season, said he believed he would have been fined had he thrown the punch. He also said he has tried to tone down his behavior, but that he needs to play with an edge, Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean tweeted.

"There's nothing I did that I felt like was a fineable offense," TitansInsider reported him saying. "Maybe a flag for quick jamming him and hitting him in the facemask. But there's no way that I thought that that would ever be a suspension."

He also added sarcastically, "To just echo what everybody else on TV and the world wants to hear, man, I had it coming. I deserved it. If I was Andre Johnson, I would have did it."

Finnegan also apologized for leaving the field as he did -- waving his arms to the Reliant Stadium crowd.

Earlier Monday, Titans coach Jeff Fisher told reporters he had spoken to the league and strongly believed Finnegan should not have been suspended.

"The event itself is an unfortunate thing that happens," Fisher said. "You have two very talented, talented, good football players competing and it's just very unfortunate. It's not good for our game, and I'm just disappointed that that type of thing happens on the playing field.

"If Cort was out of control at any time, yesterday would have been the time to be out of control and he (wasn't). He was not going to hurt the football team, and by that he didn't fight back. From that standpoint, you have to say he kept his composure."

Fisher said he had knowledge of Finnegan telling the Texans' bench to "watch this" just before the altercation.

"There is going to be all kinds of speculation about things like that," Fisher said. "You have no idea what goes on out there, in the trenches, outside, inside, they are competing -- there are a lot of things that are said."

No comments: