Between the two of them, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman have already been fined for a total of $65,000 during the 2016 season. After their postgame comments on Sunday, that amount is likely to get a bit higher.
Newton and Norman made sure to express their feelings on Sunday about the horrendous officiating that went on during each of their games. According to the NFL’s policy on criticizing the officials, both players will likely be forced to pay a fine later this week.
Given the fact that Newton and Norman will make almost $30 million combined this year, they will not mind paying a few fines in order to get their voices heard by the league.
The Panthers quarterback’s main gripe with the officials on Sunday had to do with his opponents, the Arizona Cardinals, not getting penalized for some of the hits he was taking during the game. Newton felt that he was not getting the benefit of the doubt that some other quarterbacks from around the NFL get when taking similar hits.
The story of my life ever since I came in is, ‘Oh, oh, well, we missed that one. I’m sorry. I’ll try to get it.’ That’s bullcrap. As a player in this league, if we do something stupid we get fined. If you do something derogatory to somebody else, we get fined. I just can’t keep accepting, ‘Oh, we missed that one.’ Or ‘I apologize for doing that.’ Or ‘I didn’t see it.’ That’s horsecrap.
Due to his larger than average size (6’5, 250 pounds), Newton has been the victim of a number of dangerous hits that have resulted in no-calls throughout his time in the league. But just because he is a bigger guy does not mean that the officials should look at him differently than any other quarterback in the league.
If a defensive player were to even blow a kiss at Drew Brees or Tom Brady during a game, they would be lucky to not receive an ejection. But for some reason, Newton getting mauled in the pocket just seems like a normal day at the office for a number of NFL officials.
As for Norman, his postgame comments on Sunday had to do more with the penalties called on himself for infractions that he felt some of his opponents (the Cincinnati Bengals) were just as guilty of. Never one to bite his tongue, the Redskins’ cornerback made sure the public knew the exact official for which he was voicing his displeasure.
Who is official 88? He sucked. I’m just gonna be honest with you. I’m gonna be straightforward. He was terrible. I feel like he should be reprimanded. I feel like some of the plays that was going on out there, it was just — I mean, it was terrible.
Norman did not quite understand why he was being penalized for committing similar actions of his opponent in Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green. Washington’s corner was flagged for illegal use of hands four times on Sunday while matching up with Green.
We come over here in an international game and it seems like we threw everything out the window on what we do. Get the guy on the line: 5-yard penalty. Hands to the face. Hands to the face. Hands to the face. But yet, every time I touched (Green), he knocked the hands up into him. I tell him that, but he still called it. How do you play like that?
Each player’s comments on Sunday may actually be the result of them finally getting fed up with the NFL doing nothing to reprimand their officials following a poor performance during a game.
When a player celebrates after making a play, the league has no problem fining that player for his display of excitement (especially in 2016 for some reason). But if an official misses a call that has a significant impact on the outcome of a game, the NFL basically just gives them an ol’ pat on the back and assures them they will get it right eventually.
Maybe it is time for the league to focus more on the events that could actually effect the final score of a game rather than placing more emphasis on player celebrations that have absolutely no impact.
But that may be too easy for a league that likes things complicated.