NFL Fines: A Question of Ridiculousness

Large amount of money pictured for NEIU student reference.
Cash pictured could pay fine for single incorrectly- colored sock in NFL.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia

By Greg Adler – Staff Writer

Ever wonder why players in the NFL make the heaping piles of money that they do? A main reason is to offset the amount they pay in fines. The NFL big-wigs have determined that putting their physical bodies on the line game in and game out is not enough. Tarell Brown, San Francisco 49ers cornerback was recently fined $5,250 in regards to a uniform snafu, he wore red sleeves. The purpose of the longer sleeves was to stay loose and warm. The NFL rule states that “players must wear NFL sponsored gear for ninety minutes of each game.” According to, NFL officials are placed randomly outside of the locker room in order to inform and deter players from violating any uniform regulations.
The Chicago Bears are just as dastardly as that 49ers trouble maker. In 2011, Bears receiver Earl Bennett was fined not once, but twice for wearing orange shoes. After the first fine, Bennett intended to follow the dress code. “They say they will double the fine, so, it would be 10 grand,” Bennett said. “And I don’t think my wife would like that.” He was subsequently fined again after the next game for wearing the same shoes. The kicker was that they matched the orange alternative game jersey the team was wearing that day. Bennett was fined a whopping $10,000. Add that to the $5,250 he had paid the previous game and his fines totaled to $15,250 for orange shoes.
This is not to say there aren’t fines that have purpose in the NFL, particularly regarding fighting, un-sportsman like conduct, and even being arrested by a local, state, or federal municipality. These are rational fines in place to preserve the overall reputation of the NFL as good old American entertainment. When Michael Vick was indicted back in 2007 for the famed dog fighting scandal, not only did he have answer to the courts, but he also had to answer to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, creating a bit of double jeopardy.
In addition to the previous two categories of fines, the NFL has also put in place fines relating to how players play the game. In 2010 New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott was fined $20,000 for playing without his helmet’s chinstrap secured. This fine makes sense as it is in place to accent the importance of playing the game safely. The NFL has even taken measures to fine players $15,000 for helmet to helmet tackles/hits which was put in place to reduce the frequency of concussions the players endure. For more information on fines in the NFL, check out
According to, the grand total in “on the field fines” in 2010 totaled $2.9 million which was then distributed to several different NFL charities. NFL Charities include PLAY60, Heads-up, the NFL Player Care Foundation, the Brian Piccolo Memorial Fund, and Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Certain fines have a place in the NFL in order to protect the players and preserve the integrity of both the game and the league, but then there are those that make you scratch your head and ask, “Really? $10,000 for orange shoes?” Honestly though, at the end of the day if that money is truly going to help childhood obesity, cancer research, and concussion prevention research, well, those fines are fine with me.