The NFL isn’t doing itself any favors when it comes to the heated rivalry which is Steelers vs. Bengals. After the most recent affair on Monday Night Football in Week 13, the league suspended both JuJu Smith-Schuster and George Iloka one-game for their individual hits in the fourth quarter of the game.
Smith-Schuster and Iloka both appealed the suspension, only to have Smith-Schuster’s appeal denied, but on Wednesday the NFL stated Iloka’s suspension was rescinded and would only pay a fine for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Antonio Brown.
Appeals officer Derrick Brooks, jointly appointed by NFL & NFLPA, reduced discipline of George Iloka from 1-game suspension to $36,464.50 fine.— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) December 6, 2017
Here is what Iloka’s agent had to say regarding the decision:
Statement from George Iloka’s agent Ron Slavin following the reduction of his client’s suspension from a suspension to a fine. pic.twitter.com/KxkRwe9gP1— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 6, 2017
You can imagine the anger felt within the Steelers’ locker room, and certainly throughout the fan base, as a player like Rob Gronkowski, who intentionally tried to injury another player on Sunday in Buffalo, received the same punishment as Smith-Schuster, who was blocking for Le’Veon Bell on the play.
The one-game suspension is bad enough, but the fact the NFL reduced Iloka’s one-game suspension and not Smith-Schuster’s is just another example of a bad precedent being set by the powers-that-be in the league office.
So, to wrap things up, while Smith-Schuster will miss a huge game in the AFC North vs. the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football, Iloka will be out creating havoc for the Bengals in a likely meaningless Week 14 game.