Players should sign over any money made from potential endorsements, too.
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By Peter King
The biggest question in the Joe Horn/Cellgate should not be: How do we punish him? The biggest question should be: What do we do to stop this from happening?
The answer to both questions is one in the same. You want players in the NFL to stop signing footballs with Sharpies after scoring touchdowns, right? And to stop picking up cellphones after touchdowns behind the goalpost, right? So what if you fined the player more than the NFL's been fining him, more than the $30,000 the NFL will take from Horn. Say a $75,000 fine for any egregious individual celebration after a touchdown. That's part one.
Part two is this: Fine the player the commensurate amount he makes from any post-violation endorsement he gets for being insolent. San Francisco wide receiver Terrell Owens, who signed a football with a Sharpie in a post-score celebration last year, earned an endorsement from Sharpie. Let's say the company paid him $20,000. Then the NFL should fine Owens $95,000--the original fine, plus the endorsement money.
So if Horn were to get a deal with Verizon, for example, he'd have to fork over the equivalent of that endorsement amount to NFL Charities.
Players still might do selfish things. But under my plan, they'd get penalized 15 yards, then, other than the yowling from SportsCenter' after the game, they would not profit financially from the act.
The idea of the punishment should be to try to stave off future selfish acts. I cannot tell you if this will do it for every player, but this at least will make them think: I'm not going to profit from this, and my team's going to get penalized. Why in the world am I doing this?