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Tom Brady fined a pittance by NFL for kicking Grady Jarrett like a big petulant baby

The NFL’s justice arrives too little, too late.

NFL: OCT 02 Chiefs at Buccaneers Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The awful roughing the passer call on Grady Jarrett became the justified focus of last week’s Falcons loss, given that it might not have been a loss at all had Jerome Boger and his crew not thrown a sympathetic yellow flag for Tom Brady on a routine sack. What didn’t escape the notice of many sharp-eyed Falcons fans is that Brady appeared to have kicked Jarrett on the very same play, which would’ve warranted a penalty had the officiating crew not been so desperate to infuriate the NFL-watching public.

Well, the league looked into that kick and determined that Tom Brady had a big ol’ snitfit and did indeed kick Jarrett, one of the league’s best defensive linemen and best people, for the crime of doing exactly what he’s supposed to do with a clear shot at taking down the quarterback with the game on the line. They fined Brady an astonishing $11,000, money which otherwise he likely would’ve courageously squirreled away offshore or used to buy, I dunno, some weird blue light that’s supposed to add antioxidants to tap water.

It’s difficult for the NFL to actually put a dent in the wealth of a player like Brady, regardless, but this seems like even more of a very loving slap on the wrist when you realize Brady tried to kick Jarrett twice. Perhaps he’s still sore about being sacked three times by Jarrett in the Super Bowl, or maybe he’s just like this all the time because literally any hardship is too much for the most decorated player in NFL history to handle. Who can say?

This very modest fine is some modicum of justice for Jarrett, but it doesn’t give Atlanta their deserved shot to win the game, it doesn’t restore Jarrett’s deserved and by-the-book sack in the stat column, and it doesn’t really address the fact that one of the most famous players in football is trying to kick a defensive lineman multiple times in a game for absolutely no discernible reason. That’s an awful look for the league and Brady alike.

The league has a problem that it should address at some point, which is that they are overzealous and inconsistent about protecting quarterbacks in the moment, leading to an embarrassing array of calls last week and really throughout the past decade-plus. That problem sits uneasily next to their other problem, which is teams understanding and respecting protocols related to concussions and the like, which leads to truly scary situations like Tua Tagovailoa’s. Finding the balance between protecting the game’s brightest stars and not asking defenders to defy the laws of physics is tricky, but as frustration with the league mounts over penalties like Jarrett’s and injuries like Tagovailoa’s, the NFL really needs to make something consistent and sensible a priority. I’m not, of course, holding my breath.

Brady, for his part, will not learn anything and will continue to throw embarrassing tantrums a 45-year-old Hall of Famer and very rich man has no business throwing. Hopefully he’ll retire soon and we can just mute the television when he shows up in the booth.