The team, especially, has been extremely vocal in expressing its disappointment in the fine. Well it turns out it may have a very good reason.
According to SI.com, the NFL may have violated the collective bargaining agreement when it handed down such a steep penalty
Players may appeal fines if they are deemed excessively high as compared to his weekly salary. Per SI:
Bostic, the Bears’ second-round pick in 2013, will make a base salary of $405,000 this season. For the purposes of defining weekly salary (and thanks to cap guru Brian McIntyre for confirming this), the NFL divides base pay into 17 increments (16 regular-season games plus a team’s bye) and does not include a player’s signing bonus. (For the record, Bostic got a $1,246,036 bonus.) Divided into 17 increments, Bostic has a weekly salary of $23,823.53, and as a result, the $21k fine is way outside the CBA’s restrictions for percentage of weekly pay a player can be fined. Oh, there’s no specific violation in this case — the language is sufficiently nebulous — but here’s what the CBA says about appeals of fines for on-field conduct.
From Article 46, Section 1.(d):
On appeal, a player may assert, among other defenses, that any fine should be reduced because it is excessive when compared to the player’s expected earnings for the season in question. However, a fine may be reduced on this basis only if it exceeds 25 percent of one week of a player’s salary for a first offense, and 50 percent of one week of a player’s salary for a second offense. A player may also argue on appeal that the circumstances do not warrant his receiving a fine above the amount stated in the schedule of fines.
Based on the percentage restriction, Bostic could argue that his fine should be reduced to $5,955.88.
It’s a good bet Bostic won’t be paying much of the fine himself anyway. Judging by how vehemently his teammates, and even head coach, have defended the tackle in question, you can expect they’ll find a way to… help out their promising rookie.
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