Michael Griffin: Is Suspension Fair for Tennessee Titans Safety?


Nov 24, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Tennessee Titans free safety Michael Griffin (33) tackles Oakland Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera (81) in the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Titans safety Michael Griffin received a one-game suspension for his head-to-head shot on Oakland Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera. This suspension was a result from Griffin’s role as a repeat offender of the league’s safety rules prohibiting hits to the head and neck area of defenseless players. This was his second similar violation of 2013, his fourth since 2011.

From Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean, Griffin issued an apology for an incident that he felt put him in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation:

"“All I can say is I apologize to the Titans fans, my teammates and the organization,” Griffin said via text message. “I also hope Rivera is doing well and I apologize to (Rivera) and his family. I was trying to do my job but in the end I hurt the team.”"

Griffin can appeal the suspension. The Titans’ next game comes during a Dec. 1 showdown with the Indianapolis Colts.

Was there malicious intent behind the hit? That’s very doubtful. Griffin was trying to jar the ball loose. His helmet collided with Rivera’s helmet, knocking it off and making him vulnerable in the process.

It’s an unfortunate and unfair situation that puts the Titans in a bad spot Unfortunately, “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” applies to more than Griffin; it applies to the NFL. Former players have sued the league because of its lackadaisical approach toward concussions and player safety. Current players are frustrated because the NFL has “sissified” the game.

What can the league do? When a player dies on the field (let’s face it: no matter how many safety measures are taken, eventually, an on-field death will happen), the NFL’s image is at less risk when they can prove that they were implementing measures to protect players. A player dies and one can bet that the bloodthirsty media will do everything in its power to make the NFL look like the villain who did nothing to protect that victim.

Here’s what annoys me: Indianapolis Colts linebacker Erik Walden gets a one-game suspension for intentionally headbutting a helmet-less player. Griffin gets the same punishment for a repeat violation of what appeared like bad technique. Walden got suspended for an out-of-conference matchup whereas Griffin will probably get suspended for a much more important divisional matchup.

To sum up: Griffin received a worse suspension for an unintentional football act than Walden’s intentional violent act. Player safety or not, that’s nonsense. Hopefully, Griffin wins his appeal and won’t miss any games.

Agree or disagree with this suspension? Discuss in the comments, Twitter or Facebook.

SOURCE: The Tennessean