From time to time, NFL players engage in physical violence beyond the period between the snap and the whistle. Although many regard the #assault characterization as a punchline, it’s also the truth.
Football players do not consent to physicality that falls beyond the scope of the game. When it happens, it shouldn’t be ignored.
Still, football players who inflict violence on other football players beyond the playing of football rarely if ever face criminal charges. From former Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth stomping on the forehead of former Cowboys center Andre Gurode to Browns defensive end Myles Garrett hitting Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolphs with his own helmet to Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald swinging a pair of helmets like Bart Simpson windmilling his fists as he approached his sister, criminal charges have yet to be filed against NFL players for assaulting other players.
A group of Michigan State players weren’t as fortunate. Via Tom VanHaaren of ESPN.com, seven of them have been charged criminally after assaulting a pair of Michigan players in the tunnel after a game between the two teams on October 29.
According to VanHaaren, Michigan State defensive back Khary Crump has been charged with felonious assault. Video evidence showed Crump hitting Michigan defensive back Gemon Green with his helmet. Green suffered a concussion.
Michigan State defensive end Jacoby Windmon was charged with one count of assault and battery. Five others have been charged with aggravated assault.
However the cases play out, the message is simple. Playing football doesn’t become a blank check to punch, hits, stomp, swing helmets, etc. after a play or a game has ended. Players must know when to turn it off — or potentially face the consequences for failing to do so.