JJ Watt takes a dig at the NFL following the league’s decision to levy a hefty fine upon Giants’ Saquon Barkley

The NFL fined Barkley $21,855 for unnecessary roughness against the Philadelphia Eagles.

JJ Watt takes a dig at the NFL following the league’s decision to levy a hefty fine upon Giants’ Saquon Barkley

JJ Watt criticized the NFL's decision to fine Saquon Barkley. (via FOX 5/CNN)

The NFL has truly become the ‘No Fun League’ this season as the smallest of violations, be it about either a player’s uniform or conduct, have resulted in the league levying hefty fines on athletes. For running backs and pass rushers, it has been nothing short of hell as the NFL’s officiating crew has begun to penalize them for doing their job.

The league most recently fined New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley for what they deem to be “unnecessary contact” on a play against the Philadelphia Eagles. Saquon Barkley was fined because he supposedly lowered his head on purpose while initiating contact, thereby making it unnecessary roughness.

JJ Watt, former defensive end for the Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals, could not believe the league was fining him $21,855 over this play. He took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to speak out against the league fining running backs. Watt pointed out how RBs are already at a relative disadvantage given how teams refuse to pay them their money’s worth and if the NFL decides to impose such hefty amounts as fines, they would financially suffer more.

JJ Watt has a problem with the league taking money out of RB’s pockets

The reason Watt was furious over this fine was because Saquon Barkley did not initiate unnecessary roughness on purpose. He was just trying to protect himself and get through the defensive linemen. Watt asked some valid questions.

How are you supposed to run between the tackles and properly protect yourself? You want to run straight up and down, get their knee blown out? It's football!
Watt on X
Saquon Barkley
Saquon Barkley (via AP)

This has become a noticeable problem this season wherein players do what is required of them but get a flag thrown against them or fined for unnecessary roughness. The main question remains, what classifies as unnecessary physicality in a game that is extremely physical? It is normal for backs to lower their head when they are attempting to get past the defensive line because they risk injury to their knee, and once a back suffers a knee injury, their career is virtually over.

From the above play, it can be seen that Barkley did not really lower his head by that much. It was a normal play and even if it were to be classified as unnecessary contact, then throw a flag on the play or levy a reasonable amount as a fine.

Granted, this amount is not as much for Barkley, who receives a base salary of $8 million as per the terms of his one-year contract with the Giants. However, not every RB in the league is that fortunate. The median salary for the position is $1.8 million. Being fined for doing your job while being paid that amount makes no sense.

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