While I was not a fan of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown backpedaling 20-yards into the end zone on the punt return last week against the Washington Redskins, I think him being fined $10,000 is way too harsh.
To put that in perspective, the Baltimore Ravens were fined $20,000 by the NFL this past week for previously not listing free safety Ed Reed on the injury report as they should. Cheating, if you will.
$10,000 for celebrating a touchdown too soon? Really?
Maybe the league is trying to get Brown to pay for the sins of fellow wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who is accused of faking a cramp against the Cincinnati Bengals a few weeks ago in order to get a clock stoppage.
Merton Hanks and Ray Anderson from the NFL office stopped in on the Steelers on Friday to talk to Sanders about the incident, but there is certainly nothing that they can do unless he admits to faking it.
Did Sanders fake it? I think so, but there is no way I can prove it. Is he going to get fined? I would be surprised, but of course nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to fines.
Have we seen worse taunting in the league than what Brown did last Sunday against the Redskins? Absolutely, and it usually goes unfined as well. Brown was technically flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, just like Philadelphia Eagles safety Kurt Coleman should have been several weeks ago for throwing one of Brown\’s shoes out of bounds after making a tackle. Coleman was never fined for that action. Talk about an action being unsportsmanlike.
The NFL fined Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson $10,000 a few weeks ago for his touchdown celebration against the Eagles. Burleson celebrated his touchdown by flapping his arms like an eagle and then he pretended to shoot it down. No props, no nothing. And it was after he scored at that. Burleson said the NFL told him his fine was because the celebration was a “violent action toward another team.” Really? I think what Brown did on Sunday against the Redskins was more disrespectful than what Burleson did.
If a player wants to cost his team 15 yards for an unsportsmanlike act, let the coach deal with it. These are not egregious acts and nobody is getting hurt. Ok, maybe feelings, but those heal very quick.
One last thing. Guess who the safety was on the play to Burleson that was supposed to be giving help over the top. Coleman, of course. I guess karma really is a bitch, but he should have been fined as well.
If you ask me, this is a $5,000 fine for Brown and a $5,000 fine for Sanders.