Roger Goodell is pocketing fine money, says Panthers Mike Mitchell

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

NFL players aren't happy Roger Goodell is the sole adjudicator on fines, and one Panthers player believes he's being singled out.

Carolina Panthers safety Mike Mitchell believes the NFL is targeting him and has an interesting theory on where the money from player fines go, right into the pocket of commissioner Roger Goodell.

Mitchell told David Newton of ESPN that he's being singled out for his on-field behavior.

"Roger being Roger, I guess," Mitchell said. "To be honest, I think there is a little bit of a targeting system they have out. I think I'm one of the guys they'd been looking for, but I'm OK with that."

The latest fine came just over a week after Mitchell pushed Sam Bradford out of bounds on a routine second down run, before celebrating the play -- drawing the ire of the St. Louis Rams' bench. This isn't the first fine of its kind, as the defensive back has totaling almost $45,000 in fines this season from the league office.

Mitchell signed a one-year, $725,000 contract this offseason, meaning if his fine rate continues, the Panthers' safety will have lost almost 15 percent of his money on fines alone.

Mitchell said it was his fifth fine of the year, including the preseason, totaling close to $45,000. Asked where the fines went, Mitchell stared into a television camera and said, "Right in Roger's pocket. Right in his pocket. On camera, right in his pocket is where it's going."

Player fines are donated to charity as part of the league's philanthropic work, but athletes have often criticized Goodell being the only arbitrator on such issues. One thing is clear, the commissioner is not pocketing the money.

The fifth-year safety was looking to resurrect his career in Carolina after becoming a punch line in Oakland. Mitchell represented one in a long line of failed Raiders' draft picks when the team selected him in the second round of the 2009 draft largely based on his athletic ability.

Mitchell has recorded 30 tackles, three interceptions and two forced fumbles in six games this season. If he continues to celebrate every play he makes, there's a guarantee he'll continue to hear from the NFL.

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