Buy the ticket, take the ride. That used to be the favourite line of the great American sportswriter Hunter S Thompson. The NRL has no choice but to do the same with the messy precedent it has set itself over accidental head-high tackles.
Frank Pritchard gets rubbed out for one match for hitting Penrith winger David Simmons in the head with his shoulder, yet Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei yesterday slips by without sanction for hitting Eels centre Willie Tonga in the head with his shoulder.
High farce: Frank Pritchard's hit on left, Manu Vatuvei's on right. Source: The Daily Telegraph
The two tackles were different in appearance but identical in premise: there was no malice, no intention to injure the ball carrier; just an accidental impact that happens in a collision sport such as this funny old game called rugby league.
To say as much doesn't mean you are implying that concussion is an important issue, or that you're echoing the call of Reg Reagan to bring back the biff.
Nobody supports thuggery, or wants to see players finishing their career like punch drunk boxers.
Yet within the space of just one week, all the noise the NRL made about player safety because of the Pritchard tackle has dissolved into the ether.
The reason proffered for Vatuvei not being charged is that Tonga was "slipping" before contact was made.
"The contact was deemed to be accidental and not careless," NRL match review chairman Greg McCallum said. If someone can please explain the difference between Vatuvei's "accidental" tackle and Pritchard's "careless" one, they are a genius. Vatuvei had about as much control over that as Pritchard did over Simmons' right-foot step.
If the NRL was as serious about concussion and player safety as it says it is, it would look into why Canberra centre Shaun Berrigan was allowed to stay on the field against the Titans despite being so out of it he may as well have been on the cup-and-saucer ride at Disneyland.
Or why Dragons centre Nathan Green can be laid out on the canvas, as he was against the Bulldogs, but after a long stoppage in play is good to go.
The NRL set the precedent with Pritchard.
Buy the ticket, take the ride.