Pending appeal, the Carolina Panthers will be without star linebacker Thomas Davis for the final two games of their push to the playoffs, thanks to his vicious blindside head shot to Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams on Sunday.
That Davis’ suspension will last two games didn’t sit right with some, not after Rob Gronkowski received a one-game suspension for targeting an opponent’s head during a dead ball and JuJu Smith-Schuster got a game ban for celebrating his head shot of bully Vontaze Burfict.
Wait… How’d Thomas Davis get a 2 game suspension for a hit during a play and Gronk get 1 for one clearly after? There is a lot about the NFL I don’t get these days.
— Roddy Jones (@RoddyJones20) December 18, 2017
Anyone else think it’s awkward or rather very inconsistent by the @Nfl that Thomas Davis gets a two game suspension (not condoning the hit) but it was during a live play, and Gronk gets a one game suspension for a hit that has no place in the game not even considered football!!
— DIGGZ32 (@JamesIhedigbo) December 18, 2017
Let me get this straight. JuJu lights up Burfict and stands over him flexing = 1 game suspension. Thomas Davis, a former Walter Payton man of the year hits Adams on a block then shows how truly upset and remorseful he is for an unintentional hit and he gets 2 games? Makes sense
— Bob Lee Swagger (@matt_schramm23) December 18, 2017
But there’s a key difference in Davis’ case and those of Gronk and Smith-Schuster: He’s a repeat offender.
Earlier this season, Davis was fined $48,620 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Adam Humphries in Week 8.
Back in 2014, he was fined for committing a similar infraction, victimizing Jimmy Graham.
OLB Thomas Davis has been fined $16,537 for this hit on Saints TE Jimmy Graham. Worth it. https://t.co/IUF9NnT5BH
— CAR Panthers News (@CarPanthersNews) November 7, 2014
According to the league’s letter to Davis, explaining their decision, his history factored in: “Your actions yesterday warrant an escalation of discipline, not only because they were flagrant, but also because of your status as a repeat offender.”
Of the Gronk, Davis, and Smith-Schuster hits this season, the New England Patriots tight end’s was by far the least defensible—there’s no possible viable excuse for targeting a player’s head between plays. And though the NFL’s punishing methods are thousands of miles from consistent, there’s at least some reasoning behind this decision.