The league administration is negligent regarding ejections. This week, prominent players in prominent contests should have been ejected twice. Both times, the NFL messed up.
And it wasn’t just the authorities on the pitch who failed to recognize the clear violations that should have led to a player’s disqualification. The procedures have been modified to include the league office in such decisions and give 345 Park Avenue the authority to release a player who has violated the rules.
Monday night, Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson struck an official who was attempting to pull him away from a confrontation with one or more Steelers sideline players. The league explained its decision to allow Deshaun to continue playing by stating, “In the opinion of the officials, the contact did not constitute a penalty. Officials are tasked with maintaining order on the pitch, and during their duties, they occasionally come into contact with players.
The video does not match the explanation; as Watson was being pushed away from the melee by an official, Watson made the official away with his fists. This should ALWAYS result in expulsion.
On Thursday evening, it occurred again. With his left fist, Trent Williams struck Giants defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson in the facemask. This incident happened after a game and was neither as sudden nor as violent as the strike Williams once delivered to Richard Sherman. This one occurred during a game and should have led to an immediate ejection.
The NFL provided another word salad to explain its decision not to eject Williams, concluding, “We couldn’t confirm that 100 percent from the standpoint of was it truly a closed fist with a strike, we just couldn’t determine that.”
What else did they require? Robinson’s cranium must have dislodged from his shoulders, similar to the video game Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. Once more, the video does not correspond to the explanation. Williams struck Robinson with an open hand. He should have been thrown out.
It’s all manipulation, pure and simple. According to the league, our senses are deceiving us. These are not the droids that we are searching for. It isn’t brilliant.
Unless it occurs, the league prefers to keep the greatest quarterbacks on the field in standalone games, so Watson was not ejected. Williams was not ejected as a result of this mentality. Williams receives a pass because he is vital to keeping 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy healthy, thereby helping to ensure that the 49ers won’t be without their quarterback.
Watson and Williams should have been ejected for their actions, so there must be an explanation. And it cannot be due to negligence, as the video evidence in both instances is too clear.
It concerns the firewall — or absence thereof — between the NFL’s commercial interests and the rulebook. The league desires and requires maximal television audiences to maximize revenue. Certain players are regarded as essential to the success of this endeavor.
In particular, quarterbacks and those primarily responsible for keeping quarterbacks safe.