Dan Sorensen was somehow fined by the NFL more than Jon Bostic this week, showing a ridiculous lack of consistency.
Late this week, the National Football League leveled its weekly series of fines on players deemed to have been in the wrong in the previous week’s games. This time around, two defenders in particular in Week 7 had—in the eyes of the league—put out hits that were reckless or beyond the pale. Those players were Kansas City Chiefs safety Dan Sorensen and Washington Football Team linebacker Jon Bostic.
Before we get into the fines and start comparing numbers, let’s go back and refresh our memories with what exactly took place that led to such punishments in the first place.
First, let’s look at Sorensen. The Chiefs dominated the Denver Broncos in Week 7 at Mile High for a strong divisional win. One player who was doing well for the Broncos on that day was running back Phillip Lindsay, who was carving up the Chiefs run defense—that is, until he was hit by Sorensen on this play:
This hit was unfortunate, to be sure. Lindsay was taken to the sidelines shortly thereafter and wouldn’t return. He was then placed in the team’s concussion protocol. No one wants to see that. However, it’s also important to note that Sorensen wasn’t flagged on this play.
Let’s switch our attention to Jon Bostic. The Washington Football Team was playing against the Dallas Cowboys last week, another lopsided game in which Washington won easily, 25-3. Part of that was due to Dallas being without their quarterback Dak Prescott due to injury. Then this happened to his backup, Andy Dalton:
Dalton suffered a concussion and remains out to this day. (Ben DiNucci will start for Dallas in Week 8 at quarterback.) Bostic was immediately flagged and ejected from the game—the right call given that he made himself into an obvious missile aimed right at a sliding quarterback.
The NFL’s response to Dan Sorensen’s hit on Phillip Lindsay: a $20,000 fine. The NFL’s response to Jon Bostic’s hit on Andy Dalton: $12,000. It’s also important to note that neither player was suspended.
In the case of Sorensen, the $20K fine was already a bit steep but it’s also understandable knowing the bigger picture of player health and the NFL wanting to keep things clean even if things are unintended. And if it was intended, then Sorensen certainly deserves that (and maybe more). But if we’re comparing apples to oranges here, then Sorensen should most certainly take issue with the fact that he’s out $8K more than Jon Bostic.
Bostic’s hit not only deserved the ejection but a single-game suspension beyond that game as well. What good is it to stress the importance of avoiding such hits to the head if you’re going to allow that same player to participate the very next week after being thrown out of the game with only a $12K fine in between performances. If you can take out the opposition’s quarterback and pay less than half of one percent of your overall salary, many more defenders will take that route every time.
The NFL isn’t exactly known for its incredible consistency when it comes to player punishment (or officiating or stances on social issues or…), but making Sorensen pay more than Bostic when the difference is so glaring is just silly. Or maybe the only consistent element here is the sheer unpredictability of the NFL’s application of its own rules.