Was Dunta Robinson’s hit legal?

The NFL took its stance on several helmet-to-helmet hits during Week 6, fining three players a total of $175,000 on Tuesday. One of the players involved, Falcons CB Dunta Robinson, was fined $50,000 for his hit on Eagles WR DeSean Jackson that knocked both players out of Sunday’s game with injuries.

Robinson released a statement following the NFL’s announcement, saying he will appeal his fine.

“I am disappointed by the NFL’s ruling, I recognize the goal is to protect all players — from the Pee Wee level on up — however, this was a bang-bang hit situation where I did not lead with my helmet, and therefore I will appeal,” Robinson said in a statement. “Although it was a violent hit, my hit did not violate the NFL’s rules, and I was playing the game the way I always have. I am not a dirty player and have never been characterized as one.”

You can view Robinson’s hit here, and make a judgement for yourself. Robinson’s hit on Jackson was violent, but whether it was illegal or not is certainly debatable, if not controversial.

In fact, three of our NFL Network analysts agree that Robinson’s hit was legal under the written rules.

“He leads with his shoulder, but not to the head area. He goes to the chest of Jackson,” Solomon Wilcots said. “That’s a bang-bang play. You can’t legislate this play, nor does he go to the head.”

“This is a violent hit to a defenseless player, however, it’s legal,” Mike Mayock said. “Was it a violent hit? Yes. Was he defenseless? Yes. However, [Robinson] leads with the shoulder into the sternum. … The way I see that hit, is you can’t legislate that hit out of football. I disagree with the interpretation there.”

While agreeing with the league’s stance, Charles Davis also believes Robinson’s hit was legal.

“I think he should appeal,” he said. “I don’t think he led with his head, I think he hit the receiver in the right spot, and did everything he could to protect himself. That’s the one I don’t get.”

– Frank Tadych

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