Steelers safety Mike Mitchell went off on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the state of the league Wednesday afternoon, railing against the inconsistency of how hits, legal or not, are policed.
Former Giants star Osi Umenyiora took offense to Mitchells rant, which included several references to the idea of just playing flag football and this is a mans game.
Are players really this dumb? Umenyiora tweeted. Hate to say it but cmon. Former players have died and are dying horrible deaths because of head trauma. And youre complaining because the league is taking steps to at least try and reduce it. Make it flag football. Ridiculous.
Mitchell has been agitated on social media for a few days because of how three incidents from this past weekend were legislated. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was suspended for one game after an egregiously late hit on Bills cornerback TreDavious White. Mitchells teammate, wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster was dinged for a game because of an illegal crackback block on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict. And Bengals safety George Iloka was benched for a game after a helmet-to-helmet hit in the end zone on Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown shortly after the Smith-Schuester hit.
My real complaint isnt with the @nfl its with my fellow players. How did we agree to this cba? There is no consistency in the way we are disciplined. One week you can commit a foul and be fined the next be suspended. One week a fight is an ejection the next its a suspension.
Mike Mitchell (@iammikemitchell) December 5, 2017
One day later, Ilokas suspension was lifted and replaced with a fine. Smith-Schusters was not. That really got Mitchell mad.
A video of Mitchell shot by The Athletic went viral Wednesday, just at about the same time that Goodells five-year contract extension was first reported.
Mike Mitchell absolutely killing it. Must watch. @TheAthleticPIT pic.twitter.com/SwcvJMJyHy
Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) December 6, 2017
While much of that video is an argument about inconsistency with how the league legislates discipline, there was more to Mitchells rant.
This is a combat, contact sport, Mitchell said, according to the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette. There are going to be injuries. Thats just what it is. If you dont want to get injured then dont come out here. This is for real men. This is a mans game. Ray Lewis said that a couple of years ago. This is a mans game. I stand by that. If youre a little kid and dont want to get your ass hit then dont come out here because this is for grown men.