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NFL still sorting out fine mess from Bears-Lions melee

Fines are forthcoming for Bears Lions players who participated Sunday’s melee. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Fines are forthcoming for Bears and Lions players who participated in Sunday’s melee. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: December 16, 2011 8:23AM

Players from the Bears and Detroit Lions are expected to make a sizeable contribution to the NFL’s charitable partners this week.

A scrap between Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and Bears cornerback D.J. Moore cleared both benches and required several minutes to be sorted out.

Based on the NFL’s policy on fighting, about two dozen players should expect to pay a price, even if they were trying to play peacemaker. A league spokesman said they would review the brawl.

“The NFL policy on fighting is very simple: Don’t fight, and if a fight breaks out involving other players, stay away,” the policy states. “If you are challenged, walk away from the situation and continue playing football. Fights in the NFL are pointless and only lead to penalties, as well as possible fines and disqualification from the game — all of which hurt your team.

“Keep in mind that even if you are not a participant in a fight, you will be fined for unnecessarily entering a fight area. ‘Peacemaking’ won’t be accepted as an excuse for entering the area, nor will coming to the defense or assistance of your fighting teammates.”

After Moore jumped at Stafford, he was immediately surrounded by at least three Lions players. During the scrum, another Bears player was outnumbered on the Lions’ sideline, where all the action took place. Bears defensive end Israel Idonije ended up at the bottom of the initial pile, and even offensive players — who were coming onto the field because they were about to take possession — sprinted over to support teammates.

Players on both sides insisted that they would defend their own.

“You don’t want to see one of your teammates just getting attacked by more than one guy,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “A lot of times there’s a lot of shoving going on and nothing’s really being done. That wasn’t the case. The NFL, with modern video, you have a chance to look at everything on what happened. I’m anxious to see exactly how, exactly what they rule based on what everyone did.”

Smith acknowledged that Moore shouldn’t have retaliated, but he also added that Stafford was the instigator.

“Stafford grabbed him by his helmet; can’t do that either,” Smith said. “Those situations I can understand the officials throwing out one guy: D.J. But it seemed like both guys should’ve been thrown out in that situation.”

According to the NFL’s fine schedule, a first-time offender for fighting will get docked at least $25,000. A player entering the fight area and actively participating will be subject to at least a $5,000 fine and a player who enters the area and is not actively involved could be fined at least $2,500.

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