A lot of talk this week about NFL player protection and favoritism and making examples. Hines Ward of the Steelers saying the NFL isn't interested in player protection. Terrell Suggs of the Ravens saying that only QBs like Brady and Manning really get protection. James Harrison of the Steelers saying that the NFL is specifically targeting him to make an example. As always in things like this, the truth resides somewhere in the murky middle.
The NFL has selectively chosen to protect only certain players. The QB, WR, and TE position to be exact. They are not concerned with running backs. They are not concerned with any line players or special teams players. All of whom get hit in defenseless positions at times and some who can get really hurt. But those do not matter. They are concerned with the money players. The star players. They are not about protecting ALL NFL players. If they were they would look into better helmets. It's the 21st century and we can't come up with better brain protection? For all players? No. Obviously the NFL can't. They are not interested in total player protection. Only the protection of some and only in certain cases.
Are some players protected more than others? Absolutely. Since the NFL is a business and in that business there are players in which a team invests to bring in their revenue. Those players are generally QBs and WRs. It's just that simple. Those players will get more protection. Are players who are considered some of the "faces" of the NFL protected more like Brady and Manning, absolutely. Do those players know it and use it to their advantage? Absolutely. Is it fair? Of course not. But nobody said sports were fair...no sports activities are fair anymore. There is always an angle to where one team or player is always going to get more than someone else. And the decision on who gets more comes down to who makes a team or sport more money. It's just that simple.
Is Harrison getting singled out for penalties? Of course he is. The NFL has made it clear that they think he is a habitual offender even before this policy came down. Harrison has been fined 125,000 this season so far. There are plenty of these "illegal" hits all across the league every weekend and yet it is Harrison who gets fined week after week. Coincidence? I think not. Some players are used to make an example and it's a lot easier with a guy who has said publicly he's not changing his playing style to fit into the new rules and that he believes he plays the game right.
Is it fair? Of course not. This is sports and in this day and age sports aren't about being fair - they are about money and the NFL is protecting it's money, not it's players.