By Danny Cox
A lot of players get angry when a fine is given to them, and most of them are handed out for illegal hits or helmet-to-helmet contact and are placed down for safety reasons. There are other penalties that draw fines though, and Carolina Panthers safety Mike Mitchell committed a penalty that drew one.
Mitchell was fined $7.878 for taunting on a fourth-quarter play against the St. Louis Rams back on Oct. 20, 2013. That play actually was the one where Rams quarterback Sam Bradford suffered his season-ending knee injury.
It isn’t the first time that Mitchell was fined this year, though. This was the safety’s fifth fine on the season and he has already amounted close to $45,000. He thinks he’s being picked on.
“Roger being Roger, I guess,” Mitchell said. “To be honest, I think there is a little bit of a targeting system they have out. I think I’m one of the guys they’d been looking for, but I’m OK with that.”
Mitchell was asked where he believed the money accumulated by fines went and he was quick to answer that one, too.
“Right in Roger’s pocket. Right in his pocket. On camera, right in his pocket is where it’s going.”
He spoke more on it and said that he wants some consistency in the system and if he’s going to be fined, he wanted to be fined for all he has done wrong. Mitchell believes that if he isn’t going to be fined for all, then Goodell shouldn’t fine him for any.
The problem with that is Goodell has nothing to do with the fines process. The NFL’s vice president for football operations, Merton Hanks, handles on-field discipline decisions and is the person that levies the fines.
Going further, Goodell also doesn’t collect the fines either as they are collected by the league itself. The money brought in by fines is then donated through the NFL Foundation to assist former players in need.
While that is a fantastic cause and one that should always have money going into it, the penalties drawing fines do need to be consistent.
Mitchell says that the play he was fined for against the Rams came because it dealt with a “big-name quarterback.” He believes he is being targeted by Goodell due to his physical style of play. Coach Ron Rivera wouldn’t touch on the subject of Mike Mitchell being possibly being targeted, but he’s happy with his play on the field.
While some rules have caused defensive players to alter their style of play due to safety, fines, and penalties; the rules are not going to change back. The NFL is not going to lighten up on this subject at all. It’s all about safety first, and that is how it is going to stay.
While Mike Mitchell may feel slighted or targeted, it would be in his best interest to just stay quiet about it and continue working on cutting back on personal fouls. That’s the best decision he can make right now because he doesn’t need to have any more attention drawn to his good play and hard hits.
For more Carolina Panthers news and updates, visit Carolina Panthers Central.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.