Former first-round cornerback Artie Burns has had a tumultuous 2018 season so far that came to a head Sunday when he did not play a defensive snap. Pittsburgh Steelers fans were confused why Burns did not play defense even after starting cornerback Coty Sensabaugh left the game late with a foot injury and Cameron Sutton took his place. Then the reports surfaced how Burns was benched due to being late to a walkthrough. After the report surfaced, fans wondered why the double standards when running back Le’Veon Bell played during Jacksonville Jaguars playoff game in January when he missed all but five minutes of a walkthrough.
Why was head coach Mike Tomlin flaunting double standards?
Was Burns sat due to Tomlin sending a strong message to players on them breaking team rules would not be tolerated:
Was Bell given favorable treatment due to his superstar status and the enormity of the playoff game?
If the two players committed the same infraction, why not hold their feet to the same fire?
There is one significant difference between the two situations. One instance was excused, while the other one was not. This is a fact which seems to have been lost this week.
Tomlin addressed Burns being late on Tuesday.
“He had a good week of practice last week. I don’t want to make more out of it than it is,” Tomlin said. “He was late. We wanted to be focused with the guys that were wired in and appropriately where they needed to be in the hours leading up to kickoff. He suffered the consequences of that.”
While the Steelers did not need Burns in a 33-18 crushing of their division rival Cleveland Browns, his tardiness was not excused. On the other hand, Bell stated how his tardiness was known by Tomlin and others, and was never refuted or punished by Tomlin.
“I had personal reasons,” Bell said. “Obviously, Coach T and everyone knew. Whoever made the report was trying to make me look bad to the public or whatever. Obviously, the coaches and everybody knew what was going on in my life at that moment. I showed up when I did and I came to work.”
Tomlin is not playing favorites here, nor is he showing double standards for the same infraction. The situations are not the same and he handled them differently. Tomlin should never excuse the breaking of team rules for any player under any circumstance when it is not excused, and should hand out the punishment he sees fit. It is up to Coach Tomlin to decide which situations are excused and which ones are not. Bell is doing a good enough job with making himself look bad in the Steelers fans eyes without fans comparing the two different circumstances.