The NFL Uses Excessive Player Discipline To Boost Public Perception

The art of chain snatching, made famous in its indigenous stages by the old school, authentic thugs of the late ’80s, early ’90s New York street culture, had been in relative hibernation until Aqib Talib made it his business to rip off Michael Crabtrees jewels during a nationally televised NFL game – for the second time this year –  inciting a quick sideline brawl that spilled onto the field and had everybody going at it. 

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Brawl in Oakland cause Crabtree/Talib ejections. #NFL #Broncos #RaiderNation

It didnt have the number of fist-flying, facemask-grabbing rounds that the classic Odell Beckham Jr.-Josh Norman heavyweight bout had, but the NFL reacted as if it was the worst thing that ever happened on the field when they suspended both players for two games on Monday. 

On Tuesday,  Crabtree and Talib had their two-game suspensions reduced to one after appeal hearings. Talib can return to the field for the Denver Broncos’ Week 14 game against the New York Jets. Crabtree will be eligible to return for the Oakland Raiders’ Week 14 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Both can return to their teams on Dec. 4.

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Michael Crabtree and Aqib Talib get suspensions reduced to 1 game each:

Derrick Brooks heard Crabtree’s case and James Thrash heard Talib’s appeal, and both decided to reduce the two-game bans. 

The fight during Oakland’s 21-14 win on Sunday was Round Two of a nasty riff between the two players that started in January of last season when Talib ripped Crabtree’s chain off for the first time during the season finale. Crabtree missed the first game between the teams this year but selfishly came out with revenge on his mind. It was a scene with a ’90s hip-hop feel and a ’70s NFL look. For a minute, all hell broke loose and the sports world was talking about the fight. The infamous chain snatch.  

It was an overreaction on the leagues part because players have had scuffles on the field before. Its the NFL and emotions are always running high. Roger Goodells team is known to overreact or not react at all with high profile NFL matters. Of late, the NFL has chosen to be proactive in setting the bar high for punishments regardless of how the situation plays out legally or how it compares to past transgressions. 

But things happen between the lines and vendettas linger from season to season. The NFL, with its wealth of knowledge, is well aware of these things and they choose to react after the fact. It’s to there benefit to do so. The committee of Brooks and Thrash are two former players with integrity who understand how the game works between the lines. 

Aqib Talib addresses Sunday’s ejection

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Two games seemed steep for a dust-up that lasted a couple of minutes, but you cant really be that upset with Crabtree because getting your chain snatched signifies a disrespect and an implication of weakness that violates the brotherhood that NFL players are supposed to share between the lines. Bad enough they have to take the field and decapitate their friends. Snatching jewels is just OD over-the-line. Especially if the same guy already got you for your jewels once before, was totally unapologetic about it and now takes a helmet as a second souvenir as Talib did.  

This Crabtree clip was from January. He straight up claims that the referees allowed Taliq to cross lines with him. 

Michael Crabtree on Necklace and Aqib Talib Chain Snatch

What happened and Aqib Talib’s response WATCH: Subscribe for latest sports highlights and videos gone viral.

You can, however, be miffed with the NFL who should have been ahead of the situation and warned the players that they need to avoid any extracurricular activities on the field. They should have informed the referees of potential problems and had them address it with the team and coaches prior to the game. 

Its almost like the league intentionally wants to put two pit bulls into the fire with gasoline draws on and watch them explode, benefit from the ratings and promotion and then step in and act as if the league prison is re-establishing order with the inmates, in the words of Texans owner Bob McNair.  

The end result actually works out for every party involved because the NFL satisfies its conservative base and appears to have taken a tough stance on thuggery infiltrating its product. 

And at the same time it was able to highlight a negative public incident between two African-American players and drop a two-game hammer on them,  which suggests that control of these players is needed and strengthens the argument that all of them should be standing for the national anthem.

From Ezekiel Elliott to a scuffle between high profile players, one thing is for certain; the NFL is doing it for the cameras right now and anybody who wrinkles the public perception of the brand will become expendable prey.  

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