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Chargers’ Derwin James brutal hit on Colt’s Ashton Dulin landed both in concussion protocol. Should NFL make an example of him?

With two high-profile concussion related incidents in Week 16, the NFL and its fans were given a harrowing reminder of an increasingly dangerous problem.

Chargers’ Derwin James brutal hit on Colt’s Ashton Dulin landed both in concussion protocol. Should NFL make an example of him?

Regardless of which team you support, the scenes witnessed during the Week 16 closer between the Colts and Chargers was nothing that fans want to see. Indeed, with the Colts safety ejected for his brutal hit on the Chargers wide receiver, questions are now being asked.

Was Chargers’ Derwin James Jr, wrong in his hit on Ashton Dulin?

During Monday night’s game, there was a moment which will likely stand out when fans of either team reflect on the Boxing Day finale to NFL’s Week 16. Indeed, there couldn’t have been any doubt in either camp’s minds that Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James Jr. would be ejected, after what appeared to be an absolutely brutal hit on Indianapolis Colts receiver Ashton Dulin. Leading with the crown of his helmet, James laid into Dulin with an impact that caught the wideout in both the head and neck area, after the latter had made a short catch. The sound - even on television - was something akin to an explosion. Needless to say, the crowd’s reaction was immediate as they witnessed Dulin lying unresponsive on the ground for few moments. “We’ve watched a lot of football, I don’t know if I’ve seen a hit quite like that,” ESPN analyst and former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman said.

For his part James got a 15-yard penalty and was ejected from the game for the hit. Now, while some older fans may allude to the idea that in years past such a hit would have been common, the reality is they no longer have a place in football and rightly so. As one can imagine, fans and viewers at home were shocked. With that, Aikman could only reiterate the sentiment saying, “That was as big of a collision as I’ve seen in a long, long time,” Aikman said.

How will the NFL react after Derwin James Jr. & Ashton Dulin end in concussion protocol?

Following the hit, Dulin was taken to the locker room shortly after and as most would have expected by this point, he was ruled out with a concussion. Incidentally, following what would turn out to be a 20-3 win for the Chargers, head coach Brandon Staley said James had in fact entered concussion protocol as well. To be clear, one needs only a casual glance at a replay of the moment to see that Dulin was in no way prepared for the hit, defenseless so to speak. Indeed, when we consider the fact that James led with his helmet, there is little one can say in defense of a play that mirrors the exact thing that both the NFL and NFLPA are trying to stamp out of the game. One need only take a look at the situation involving Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa to understand that this is definitely an increasingly touchy topic for the league and as it should be.

Ultimately, reports indicate that James won’t face a suspension for his hit on on James, but there is the possibility that he could face a fine from the league for his actions. At present, the standard fine for a hit on a defenseless player is $15,914, however, if a player is found to have used his helmet - which James did - they can face a fine of up to $21,218. At this point, we can only wait to see whether the NFL will seek to make an example of James, or stick to standard protocol.


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