Even though the play seemed like it was inadvertent, Judon struck the referee during a skirmish on the field which touched off his eventual ejection. The play was a mistake, and after the game, Judon wanted everyone to know that he meant no harm with the play and did not intentionally strike the referee in the heat of the moment on the field.
Here’s what Judon said after the game:
All in all, it’s nice to see Judon accept responsibility while also clarifying what happened. The hit looked bad in real time as it played out, but without a complete picture of what was going on behind him, it’s easy to cast Judon as a guy who simply lashed out and struck a referee with malice without understanding the whole picture of what was happening in the moment.
Whatever happened, credit Judon for standing up, taking his medicine and admitting he was wrong while also explaining what happened. Whether that does anything for him in the court of public opinion and in the eyes of the NFL is left to be seen.
Video of Matt Judon Hitting Referee
During the game, a scuffle broke out between the rival teams on the field, and Judon managed to take what looked like a swing at the officials as he got tangled up in the fracas. Here’s a look at the play as it happened:
Judon was thrown from the game and may be facing at minimum a significant fine from the league as a result. Earlier this season, Detroit Lions linebacker Jamie Collins inadvertently head butted a referee and drew a fine but not a suspension. The head butt seemed much more tame than this incident, though, so it will be interesting to see how the league reacts this time around and whether a suspension becomes more of a possibility in the end.
Matt Judon Career Stats
Since coming into the league in 2016 as a 5th round pick out of Grand Valley State in Michigan, Judon has turned himself into a solid player for the defense, racking up 28.5 sacks in barely a handful of years played. Judon also had 185 tackles to his credit as well as 7 forced fumbles coming into the 2020 season, and has become a force up front for a Baltimore defense that needs him to pressure the pocket. Since the departure of Za’Darius Smith, Judon has only become more important for the Baltimore front. This is the first time he has had any sort of incident play out.
This season, Judon hasn’t made a huge statistical impact with 18 tackles and just 2 sacks, but he remains a key piece for a Baltimore defense and pass rush which has been much maligned at times this season.
The hope is Baltimore doesn’t lose him for much time in the second half, but that will be up to the league to decide after watching the video and hearing Judon’s apology.
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