NFL Fines Dunta Robinson $40,000 for Violation of Player Safety Rules

DUNTA ROBINSON of the Atlanta Falcons has been fined $40,000 by NFL Vice President of Football Operations MERTON HANKS for a violation of player safety rules, the NFL announced today.

In the third quarter of Atlanta’s game against Philadelphia, Robinson violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9 (a) (2) of the NFL Official Playing Rules, which states:

“It is a foul if a player initiates unnecessary contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture. 

(a)  Players in a defenseless posture are…(2) A receiver attempting to catch a pass; or who has completed a catch and has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become a runner.” 

On the play, Robinson lowered his head and made forcible contact to the head and neck area of Philadelphia wide receiver JEREMY MACLIN.  Although Maclin completed the catch, he was still a defenseless player under the rule because he did not have time to protect himself and had not clearly become a runner.

Robinson is a repeat offender of player safety rules.  He was fined $25,000 for a 2010 violation of player safety rules (Unnecessary Roughness, Week 6, October 17, 2010).  The minimum amount in the 2011 Fine Schedule for a second violation of the rules on hits against defenseless players is $40,000.  The fine schedule is distributed to all NFL players in training camp.

In a letter to Robinson, Hanks noted, “Future offenses will result in an escalation of fines up to and including suspension.”

Appeals for on-field rules violations are heard in accordance with a 2010 agreement between the NFL and NFLPA.  The jointly appointed and compensated appeals officers are Pro Football Hall of Famer ART SHELL and former NFL player and coach TED COTTRELL.

Several playing-rules changes were approved by NFL clubs last March to enhance player safety.  The changes included expanded protection for defenseless players, including additional safeguards for defenseless receivers, players who receive “blindside” blocks and quarterbacks, kickers and punters on changes of possession.

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