Op-Ed: NFL — Roman Harper of the New Orleans Saints gets fine $15,000

Posted Oct 14, 2011 by Austin Tyler
The NFL is getting very big when it comes to protecting their players, and they kept it going this week as they fined Roman Harper for his hit on Carolina Panthers wideout Steve Smith. Roman got tagged with a $15,000 fine.
This past week the Carolina Panthers took on the New Orleans Saints in a game that was pretty close 30-27. The Saints were up 10-0 and Cam Newton dropped back and hit Steve Smith with a 54-yard pass to make it a 10-6 game.
During the play Steve Smith jumped up caught the ball and stiffed arm cornerback Jabari Greer to the ground as he took off for his 30-yard touchdown run. Smith began to sprint away, but then slowed down and coasted the final 5 yards to cross the goal line. While Smith was crossing into the endzone, Roman Harper sprinted in from the left side and knocked Smith to the ground while he was not looking or even expected it.
That did not stop Smith from celebrating as he jumped up and spun the ball before he went after Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins shoving him to the ground and holding onto his face mask before the tussle ended. While Smith was celebrating with the ball spinning the Panthes players then ran to the Smith’s aid and then the Saints players came over as well. After all of that both teams got into a shoving match before the refs came over and broke it up.
Harper said the fine was worth it and that his decision to shove Smith as he crossed the goal line. Harper's late hit was the only penalty called. Harper said after the game that he wasn't going to apologize.
Harper also had this to say about Smith’s showboating
If you're going to score, go score, but a guy is not going to try and just walk it in on us like that, you're going to have to pay for it as you get past the goal line.
Smith said he slowed down not to disrespect anyone, but because he wanted to decelerate comfortably without concerning himself with padded walls surrounding the end zone.
Smith said this about if Harper should apologize
You best believe I'm not looking for an apology. I'm not looking for one, don't think I deserve one, Smith said, according to the Charlotte Observer. I didn't lose any sleep over it, won't lose any sleep over it. And when we play them down there I'm not going to walk up to him and say, 'Hey, I expect an apology, or can we make amends?' It's football.
The way I see it is Harper should have been fined way more than the $15,000, I think he should have been fined at least $50,000 because he could have hurt Smith. It was not a late hit on a quarterback in the pocket or a head-to-head hit. It was a player scoring in the endzone and being punished for scoring a touchdown by the other team.
This is almost the same thing as the Terrell Owens situation when he was with the San Francisco 49ers, and he went and stood in the middle of the Dallas Cowboys star and he was hit by George Teague. The only difference is Smith’s slowdown was not as extreme as the Owens situation. With the NFL letting this go so light you will have more defensive players feeling disrespected and go up and hit the player that scored for doing a dance. In the end I can only see this getting worse because if feels like the NFL let it slide.