Twice this week, high-profile players were to be sent off in high-profile games. On both occasions, the NFL blew it.
And it was not only the officials at the scene who failed to see the real violations that should have led to the player being disqualified in real time. Procedures have changed to directly involve the league office in such decisions — and to give 345 Park Ave. the ability to pull the plug on a player who has crossed the line.
On Monday night, Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson shoved an official who was pushing Watson away from a confrontation with one or more people on the Steelers sideline. The league justified the decision to keep Deshaun in the match by saying: “In the referees’ judgment, the call did not rise to the level of an error. Officials are called upon to maintain order on the field, and sometimes while performing those duties, there is unintended contact between players and officials.
The video is not consistent with the explanation; Watson was pushed away from the fight by an official, and Watson put his hands on the official and pushed him away. This should always result in expulsion.
On Thursday night, it happened again. 49ers let go of tackle Trent Williams Giants defensive tackle Ashaun Robinson punches in the facemask. While it was not as sudden and violent as Williams’ strike It was once turned over to Richard ShermanIt happened after the match. This happened during a match, and should have resulted in an immediate ejection.
The NFL offered another word in explaining the decision not to eject Williams, culminating with the following: “We couldn’t confirm that 100 percent from the standpoint of whether it was truly a closed fist with a strike, we couldn’t determine that.” “.
What more did they need to see? Did Robinson’s head have to come off his shoulders? Like Rock ‘Em Sock’Em bots? Once again, the video does not match the explanation. Williams punched Robinson with a closed fist. He should have been fired.
It’s all gaslighting, plain and simple. The league tells us our eyes are fooling us. These are not the robots we are looking for. Does not make sense.
Unless that happens. Watson was not fired because the league wants to keep its best quarterbacks on the field for stand-alone games. Williams was not fired as an extension of this mentality. He’s a key part of keeping 49ers’ quarterback Brock Purdy healthy, so Williams gets a pass catcher — to help ensure the 49ers are never without their passer.
There has to be an explanation for this, because both Watson and Williams should have been fired for the things they did. It cannot be due to incompetence, because the video evidence in both cases is very clear.
It’s about the firewall — or lack thereof — between the NFL’s business interests and the rule book. The league wants and needs the maximum television audience, in order to achieve maximum revenue. Some players are seen as crucial to the effort.
Specifically, the quarterbacks and those responsible for keeping the quarterbacks in one piece.
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