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NewsJets assistant trips player; no penalty, but discipline expected to be swift, heavy

Jets assistant trips player; no penalty, but discipline expected to be swift, heavy

Week 14: Dolphins at Jets

It was a routine punt, but at the conclusion of the play, Dolphins cornerback and special-teamer Nolan Carroll was prone on the turf. Jets assistant coach Sal Alosi admitted to what everyone could see from the broadcast camera (video). While running down the sideline, Alosi slyly and cowardly extended his knee into Carroll’s path.

While the back judge Rich Reels marked the sideline with his hat (a signal that Carroll went out of bounds and cannot be the first to touch the ball), he did not throw a penalty for sideline interference. Because it is so rare for a member of the sideline to blatantly obstruct the play, it is not something an official is watching for, especially since it was done so surreptitiously.

Alosi released his confession through the team Sunday night:

I made a mistake that showed a total lapse in judgment. My conduct was inexcusable and unsportsmanlike and does not reflect what this organization stands for.   I spoke to [Dolphins coach Tony] Sparano and Nolan Carroll to apologize before they took off. I have also apologized to [Jets owner Woody Johnson, general manager Mike Tannebaum, and coach Rex Ryan]. I accept responsibility for my actions as well as any punishment that follows.

That punishment is likely to be swift. In the last two instances of game-related non-player discipline, the league had a judgement before Monday Night Football, when fines are generally late-workweek business. In Week 4, Titans coordinator Chuck Cecil was fined $40,000 for giving, what the broadcast crew termed, a “Hawaiian peace sign.” Last season, Titans owner Bud Adams was fined a quarter-million for a similar gesture, which was also levied on Monday afternoon.

These past indescretions were for bad conduct, but otherwise had no impact on the game. What Alosi did was interfere with the game, which potentially could have affected the outcome. Had Carroll been badly injured, this could have had a significant impact on the game, the season, and even Carroll’s career. It is in light of this, that we are speculating that the NFL will take this action today:

  • Fine Alosi $75,000, or some figure that is no more than 25% of his salary.
  • Revoke his sideline privledges for the remainder of this season and the 2011 season, which essentially renders him unemployable on a pro sideline (and likely any sideline at any level). I suppose he could be suspended by the league, but at the very least he can be banned from the field.
  • Fine the Jets organization $250,000 for employee conduct that tampered with the game.

Perhaps some dimly lit gym in Brooklyn will soon have a trainer who has the boring stories of his glory days, when he trained some of the best in the National Football League, and he threw it all away during a moment of carelessness and stupidity.

Ben Austro
Ben Austro
Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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