Baker Mayfield knew it was coming, but it’s unpleasant nonetheless.
The Cleveland Browns quarterback was nailed with a $12,500 fine for his comments about the officiating after a 32-28 loss to the Seattle Seahawks last week where multiple key calls went against the Browns.
When at the podium, Mayfield said he figured he’d get fined, but voiced his opinion anyway. A point of contention was a blindside block flag on Jarvis Landry, which replay showed was not the case.
“I will probably get fined for saying this, but it was pretty bad today,” Mayfield said after the game. “The guy is squared up with him, running at him and he is lowering his head into Jarvis. What is (Landry) supposed to do? Avoid him? This is not bullfighting. I don’t know. It ticks me off.”
Veteran defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson also had something to say about the officiating when speaking with ESPN’s Josina Anderson after the game.
“I don’t know what them penalty calls [were]. On a few of them. It’s just tough. They let other teams play football but us in our own stadium. It’s just that simple.”
NFL Officiating Crisis Hitting It’s Peak
Mayfield was not the only player fined for talking about the officiating. As the curious calls mount, multiple players are voicing their displeasure, including Rams linebacker Clay Matthews and Lions defensive back Tracy Walker.
The Lions were on the wrong end of two hands to the face calls on corner Trey Flowers, which allowed the Packers to rally for a late field goal and the win. The calls were so bad that it prompted a heated fan to buy billboards with refs wearing the patented Green Bay cheese head.
Veteran Official Weighs in on Fixing the Issues
John Parry was a referee in three Super Bowls, but retired at the end of the year. Now he’s a fixture on Monday Night Football, explaining and judging the most significant calls of the game.
He was not a fan of either of the calls on Flowers and thinks the inexperience of refs has hurt the NFL.
“We have younger officials cutting their teeth in the NFL. We have older officials that have 20-year plus,” Parry told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “You have a new CBA which allows a 20-plus-year veteran to walk away after this year and get severance and a half — the half is the new bump, if they leave now. So you’re going to see 10 to 20 more retirements after this season, which is going to lead to less experienced, younger officials.
“We have to make a change. So many things need to change. Looking down the road two, three, five years … there are a lot of things that are concerning.”
He also pointed to the lack of consistency with the rules, points of emphasis and replay system not helping refs.
“We, the officials, have always talked about this topic, that we get change and change and change, and nothing’s consistent,” Parry said. “I think it showing up on the football field.”
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