The Pittsburgh Steelers' All-Pro Safety Troy Polamalu has been fined $10,000 by the NFL for using a trainer's cell phone to call his wife to inform her that he was doing fine after leaving last Sunday's game with concussion-like symptoms.
ESPN writes that "possession of cell phones in the bench area during a game is prohibited beginning 90 minutes before kickoff through the end of the game."
Given Polamalu's medical history and the extent of the fine, the NFL's decision has drawn criticism from fans, coaches and columnists.
"It wasn't a personal call. He wasn't checking on his bank account," said Polamalu's coach Mike Tomlin to ESPN Tuesday. "He was talking to his wife to let her know that he was fine."
Chris Chase for Yahoo Sports wrote Friday:
"He wasn't pumping in Kanye on his iPod or plugging Head & Shoulders or drawing attention to himself like Joe Horn or tweeting to fans about the game. Polamalu called his wife to let her know that he didn't suffer a potentially life-altering injury.
The NFL likes to hide behind its rules, as if they're immovable decrees set up on high rather than arbitrary regulations written by the league itself every offseason. It's easier to fine Polamalu and insincerely claim 'our hands are tied' rather than view every situation separately and judge them on their merits."
After leaving the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, the team called the injury a "very mild" concussion, and Polamalu was removed as a precaution. Polamalu was fined $15,000 earlier this season for making a horse-collar tackle.