Kerry Rhodes insists teammate Darnell Dockett didn't spit on him during the Arizona Cardinals' 7-6 loss to the New York Jets. But Dockett's actions still were enough to warrant serious condemnation from the team.
NFL.com's Albert Breer reported Friday that the Cardinals fined Dockett $200,000 for conduct detrimental to the team, according to a source briefed on the fine.
A union source told Breer and NFL.com's Ian Rapoport that the NFL Players Association already has begun the progress of filing a grievance on Dockett's behalf.
After the news broke, Dockett tweeted his thanks to the NFLPA and said "I ain't got no worries."
The punishment came five days after Dockett and Rhodes argued on the field about defensive strategy late in the fourth quarter. Rhodes -- and defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who said Friday that he suggested the plan -- wanted to let the Jets score, giving the Cardinals' offense a final possession while facing an eight-point deficit. Dockett disagreed with that thinking. Jets running back Shonn Greene eventually broke a run and knelt down at the Arizona 1-yard line, allowing New York to run out the clock.
It was reported that Dockett, who apologized Wednesday, spit on Rhodes during the altercation, prompting Rhodes to release a statement.
"Yes, we had a disagreement on the field but, no he did NOT spit in my face," Rhodes said in an email released by the team Tuesday. "I'm not going to get into all the details because I think those are things you keep within the team. But Darnell and I talked after the game, we're both moving on and I'll leave it at that."
The severity of the fine makes sense given the implication that Dockett was defying coaches' orders on the field. This is an obvious no-no that won't make Dockett any new friends. Dockett, 31, signed a six-year, $56 million contract with the Cardinals in 2010.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.