Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson has done what few NFL players do: he won an appeal of his one-game suspension.
The suspension was overturned this morning and he will be allowed to play this weekend against the New England Patriots. Instead, he was fined $100,000 for what the NFL called “a flagrant and repeat violation of NFL safety rules prohibiting hits to the head and neck area of defenseless players” in a letter informing him of the suspension Monday. The play in question involved a hit on New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles and was Goldson’s fifth unnecessary-roughness violation in two years.
The decision is interesting, given the emphatic nature of the NFL’s suspension letter, in which Merton Hanks, the vice president of football operations wrote Goldson: “You had an unobstructed path to your opponent. It is clear that you lowered your head and unnecessarily rammed the left side of your helmet into the left side of your opponent’s head. You delivered a forceful blow with your helmet and made no attempt whatsoever to wrap up your opponent or make a conventional tackle on the play. This illegal contact clearly could have been avoided.”
The NFL also announced that it was upholding the $30,000 fine Goldson incurred for a high hit on New York Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland. Although $100,000 is steep, Goldson would have lost nearly $265,000 had his suspension been upheld.