Roger Goodell and the NFL get many things wrong. When it comes to the treatment of their players, they practically get everything wrong.
However, if a defenseless player is unjustly injured by an opposing player during a game, there are consequences. Even if the referees miss the call during the game itself, the NFL will not hesitate to review what occurred and issue fines and suspensions when needed.
Goodell and the NFL hit the nail on the head with that one.
The Premier League gets almost everything right.
But they have epically botched VAR.
And they could learn from the NFL about punishing (seemingly) intentional injuries.
If the Premier League does not issue meaningful suspensions to Jordan Pickford and Richarlison for their reckless, dickless attacks on Virgil van Dijk and Thiago, it’ll send a terrible message to its players, clubs, and fans.
“Stupid” Pickford cannot get off this easy
There are not many Jordan Pickford apologists right now.
Gini Wijnaldum summed up Liverpool players and supporters feelings well in discussing the events that occurred in last Saturday’s Merseyside Derby.
“…the way Pickford went in on the challenge was, in my opinion, stupid. I believe he didn’t want to injure Virgil, but the way he took the tackle was basically he didn’t care about what happened after the tackle.
“I think we had it a lot in the games against Everton. In my opinion they take it way too far in the games we play against them. We know it’s a derby, and everyone wants to win the derby; sometimes you go over the top, but this was too much. It was not only his tackle but also Richarlison’s tackle on Thiago was also a nasty one.”
Not a single pundit has come to Pickford or Richarlison’s defense. These were, at best, reckless boneheaded challenges with a disregard for player safety. At worst, these were clear attempts at injuring a player.
This cannot be allowed.
Yes, sometimes the end result should impact the punishment
Pickford inexplicably was not sent off. This could in part be because somehow, against all logic and reason, EPL officials allow Manchester United fanboy David Coote to oversee VAR during Liverpool matches.
The first change that needs to happen is David Coote should lose his job. He’s a joke.
As for the players…
Jordan Pickford has forever changed Virgil van Dijk’s career. At 29, it will be difficult for VVD to return to the same dominant form coming off a catastrophic ACL injury. An injury solely caused by Pickford’s stupid challenge.
The EPL should take a page from the NFL. Pickford should face a massive fine and season long suspension.
As for Richarlison, a player with a history of trash-talking van Dijk, he should also see a similar sanction.
No, Richarlison and Pickford do not deserve death threats or racist tweets over this.
But if the Premier League wants to send a message to its players, “Hey, we take your safety and careers seriously,” punishments that match the offense must be handed out immediately and harshly.
If they don’t, they’re just as cowardly as Jordan Pickford going after a star players’ knees.