BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Concussions as justification for big fines and more league-decreed player restrictions? Fine. Concussions as an impetus for preventative medical technology featured in commercials? Not on the NFL's watch.

The NFL meted out five-figure fines to players for "devastating hits" to the head and neck this season after a memo sent to teams by commissioner Roger Goodell in October stated the league's intention to "protect all players from unnecessary injury caused by dangerous techniques from those who play outside the rules." Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who takes the field against the New York Jets this weekend after spurring the NFL's anti-concussion stance with a helmet-to-helmet on Cleveland Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi in October, already has been fined $125,000 for various hits during the regular season.

Toyota ( TM), meanwhile, incurred the NFL's wrath for simply running an ad during ESPN's Monday Night Football touting technology it developed with partners at Wake Forest University that could prevent football-related head injuries.

Because the Saatchi-&-Saatchi-produced ad contained an image of a helmet-to-helmet hit, however, Toyota told Reuters that the NFL complained to broadcast partners CBS, NBC, Fox and ESPN, who brought the complaints to Toyota. Those complaints resulted in a quick cut of the offending image.

Toyota's take, according to spokesman Tim Morrion's account to Reuters: "I'm sure if they'd had their druthers, we'd have pulled the spot. We weren't pulling the spot. We couldn't. But we never intended the spot to irritate the NFL."

The NFL's take, according to spokesman Brian McCarthy: "From time to time, we will address an ad that portrays our sport unfairly."

Unfairly? We're talking about the same NFL that, only little more than a year ago, finally changed its rules to remove players from a game or practice after sustaining a concussion and prevent them from returning the same day. We're talking about an NFL that made that change only after the New York Times got a hold of a league-sponsored survey that indicated that N.F.L. retirees were suffering dementia and other memory-related diseases at several times the rate of the average American. We're talking about an NFL that practically had to be shamed into that change by the House Judiciary Committee during a 2009 hearing.

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