The Steelers' James Harrison has been fined $125,000 this season (thus far) for some of his hits that were deemed by the commish as being too aggressive or otherwise dangerous.
First off, you have the commish who doles out punishment in somewhat strange ways. He has broad discretion to suspend or fine a player who crosses any line. So you've got enormous fines for this big hits, but then guys like the Seahwaks LB I've talked about in the past (Hill?) who are arrested for beating up their girlfriends walk.
Second, that's a lot of jack. $125k is nearly 4 times the average annual salary for a mid-to-low income working person. I'd wonder where that money goes? To charity? Neurological research? Retired players fund?
And last is Harrison himself who says his play is not dirty, and says he won't change his playing still and will continue to appeal the fines. And then his teammates who are defending him saying he's being singled out. I'm a fan of football. I've watched a lot of games. I'm neither a fan nor a hater of the Steelers (though in fairness, it does bug me that they have that many SB champeenships). And I think his play crosses the line. I said that before he started getting fined, and I'm repeating it now.
The game is aggressive and somewhat violent, but I don't think it was ever intended to be malicious or vicious. That's just the outcome of having bigger, faster players, more money at stake, and harder "armor" that the players wear. Imagine if they didn't have helmets or shoulder pads. Think they'd play that way?
So applying the rules is necessary, and the right thing to do.