For those of you who are upset that Andre Johnson wasn't suspended (for this) and forced to sit out Thursday's game against the Eagles, this might help calm you down. Pro Football Talk reports that even if Johnson was suspended for punching Cortland Finnegan, he still would have played on Thursday.
Apart from whether a suspension ever is implemented by the NFL for fighting (more on that later), there’s simply no way that Johnson’s appeal rights could have been resolved in the three days between Monday and Thursday, if the league had advised him on Monday that the penalty would be a suspension.
Suspensions can’t be enforced until an appeal has been heard and resolved. Given the rights set forth in the labor agreement, Johnson’s appeal wouldn’t have been concluded in time for the league to hold him out of Thursday night’s game.
There goes that whole "the game is on the NFL network (we'll be live blogging so you don't have to put up with those awful announcers, btw) and the league didn't want to suspend a marquee player" conspiracy theory.
Plus, as insane as it may sound, the NFL is more concerned with making an example out of dangerous helmet-to-helmet hits than it is penalizing two grown men for fighting. It looked really bad, but that was only because of the precarious position Finnegan was in when Johnson rained blows uponeth his headeth.