We’ve all seen the hit by now.
The Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski purposefully launching himself at a vulnerable, out of bounds Tre’Davious White of the Bills after the play was over, smashing his head into the turf as Gronk speared his 265 lb frame into his neck and head area.
Rob Gronkowski has been suspended one game for this cheap shot on Tre’Davious White. https://t.co/qJJMZ8CiIL
Everyone saw the severity of the play with the exception of the refs, who allowed Gronk to stay on the field while White was taken in for testing. After the game, the Pats’ tight end issued a weak explanation to the media while stating how he apologies to White personally. Yet his post-game remarks made it sound like the flow of the game and poor refereeing was more at fault than his individual decision.
Rob Gronkowski apologizes for his late hit on @TreWhite16. @RaulNBCBoston https://t.co/Jp0P7hbAD3
But the chatter started the second he launched his massive frame at the defenseless and helpless White. Would Gronk be punished and punished appropriately? Would the League see this for what it was, a blatantly illegal cheap shot with potential career affecting ramifications, or would they react softly on the star player due to his rep and good old “Gronk being Gronk” characterization? Well this afternoon we got our answer, as the League chose the latter path.
Official release on Rob Gronkowski being suspended for next Monday night’s game vs. the Miami Dolphins:
One game. One game for what we all know would have lead to a brawl in any other situation. In all reality, it’s amazing that the Bills players maintained their composure on the field and weren’t waiting for him outside of the locker room. But we all know that they would have had a sledge hammer like gavel wielded down upon them by the League, so they did the “right” thing and refrained from throwing hands.
Speaking of which, the League initially jumped to a two-game suspension of Aqib Talib and Michael Crabtree for fighting, something which everyone knew was going to happen again after last year’s chain snatching incident. It was later reduced to one game, which took place yesterday. Vontaze Burfict, who, in all fairness, has a horrible reputation with the League when it comes to clean play, got hit (and rightfully so) with a three-game suspension for nailing the Steelers’ Antonio Brown in 2016, causing the All Pro receiver to miss the following game with a concussion. In 2014, Robert Mathis received a four-game suspension for PED usage, something he stated was related to taking fertility drugs and not knowing that it contained a substance banned by the League.
Charles Martin, the former Green Bay Packer who infamously slammed Jim McMahon to the turf well after he threw the ball in 1986, received two games for that vicious and calculated play, one which resulted in McMahon not being able to play for the remainder of the season after that game. Martin even had a hit list written on a towel with players from the Bears that he was gunning for in the game and he still only got two games.
We reference these examples to show the random nature of the League’s penalization system. Talib and Crabtree knew they fighting while Tre’Davious White was lying on the ground after an interception before he was viciously speared with intent by one of the biggest players on the field. There’s no way those punishments are equivalent, but that’s how the NFL is judging these instances. Even his coach knew how wrong it was, apologizing to Bills’ Coach Sean McDermott and calling it “BS.”
Bill Belichick apologizes to Sean McDermott for the Gronk hit that gave Tre’ White a concussion. Called it bull%^&*. https://t.co/qfkBB9bgid
Suppose White suffered a serious neck injury and isn’t able to play football anymore. Then what? That’s equivalent of a one-game suspension? Gronk’s action was more criminal than a simple form of unnecessary roughness as White was down, the play was over and he had no way of protecting himself against an illegal hit that no could could even fathom would occur. That’s straight up a football version of the “knockout game” and that’s criminal. To make it worse, Gronk is planning to appeal the suspension.
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski will appeal his one-game suspension, per source.
If they were serious about preventing these types of horrendous plays, the League would wield Thor’s Mjolnir and render a severe punishment of at least 3-4 games. But the NFL has blown it again and has fueled the belief that favoritism, “Patriotism” (and not the nationalist kind), and some would say racism, prevails in the League. It has also now given full credibility to the “Gronk being Gronk” clause, allowing it to thrive and thereby excusing what should be viewed as something akin to a criminal act.