With the exception of boxers or mixed martial artists, most athletes who throw punches during games are vilified. Legarrette Blount nearly lost any chance at a career by throwing two punches, one at a teammate during practice. Kermit Washington was blackballed from the NBA after rearranging Rudy T's face. However, something is different about Andre Johnson. If you haven't seen it, here is Johnson's skirmish with Tennessee cornerback Courtland Finnegan.
Courtland Finnegan has the reputation of being one of the dirtiest players in the NFL. Like Dennis Rodman, Finnegan does everything to get a player off his game and get in his head. In this case Finnegan succeeded, because Andre Johnson has the reputation as one of the finer gentleman in the league. For Johnson to throw blows during the course of a football game is completely out of character. I think the NFL took this into consideration when the doled out a punishment of $25,000 but no suspensions. Andre Johnson has become a folk hero for his actions. He is the guy who stood up to the bully rather than pick on the little guy. He was given a standing ovation when he showed up at the Rockets game later Sunday night. If that's not enough he took accountability for his actions and didn't lay the blame on anyone else. Not bad for a mild-mannered wide receiver who threw some punches during a game.