First, concerning the addition of two more games, he stated that it is contradictory to the stricter enforcement of NFL hitting regulations. He is correct about that,and these two additional games will definitely affect the longevity of his 13-year career in the NFL and the rest of the NFL players, particularly the veterans of the game.
Second, he stated that there has been confusion regarding what is or is not considered a legal hit. This confusion has definitely affected the Pittsburgh Steelers, and most recently, the game against the Oakland Raiders where it seemed like every other play included some penalty. His teammate linebacker James Harrison was fined $25,000 for roughing Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick last Sunday, and Harrison feels that he is targeted by the NFL referees for any particular hit. For someone who has been fined more than $100,000 this season, he has a justifiable reason to believe that he is targeted.
Next, Ward made a valid statement that the regulations are not distributed fairly. If a rough hit is upon Indianapolis Colts‘ Peyton Manning or New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, the player or players will be immediately fined. But when the Steelers quarterback Ben Rothlisberger appeared to be intentionally injured by Buffalo Bills’ Arthur Moats and Marcus Stroud after being sacked last Sunday, neither player was penalized during the game or fined thereafter. It is a bit contradictory on the league’s part.
Lastly, he mentioned how the NFL endorses gambling and drinking in its commercials, yet NFL players can’t partake in either. From a players’ perspective, it’s understandable in that the organization which he plays in doesn’t permit the things they are endorsing, it is contradictory. But from an organizational perspective, it is a business that is run by money and other businesses. The alcohol and gambling businesses are two of those major businesses.
Hines Ward made reasonable arguments against the NFL, but whether his arguments will be effective in the upcoming bargaining agreement or create public endorsement, we will have to wait and see.