On Sunday night, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis applied a clear helmet-to-helmet hit to Steelers receiver Hines Ward after Ward caught a pass. Lewis wasn’t penalized for a blow that caused Ward to leave the game with what the team eventually (and perhaps reluctantly) called “concussion-like symptoms.”
Lewis is now suffering from a case of fine-like symptoms.
Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times reports that Lewis has been notified by the league office that he’s been fined for the illegal hit on a defenseless receiver.
“Yeah, I heard from the league and like I said they fined me whatever they was going to fine me,” Lewis said. “The thing is you definitely respect them trying to protect player safety. At the same time, it won’t change not one way I play this week no matter what the fine is. You can’t stop playing defense the way defense has always been created to play. When the receiver has the ball, your job is to disengage him from the ball. You never want to hurt nobody. I’ve been in this business too long. I just think once you start getting into these fines I don’t know how they come up with the numbers most of the time.”
Lewis didn’t disclose the amount. (And no one apparently has had the nerve to ask him.)
The bigger problem is that the officials, who are told to err on the side of protecting players, failed to penalize Lewis. The best way to avoid such outcomes would be to make these calls immediately reviewable by the replay officials, without the time-wasting, dog-and-pony exercise of the referee walking over to the sidelines, putting on a headset, talking to the replay official, climbing under the hood of the mobile ballot box, pondering the replay angles, removing the headset, walking out onto the field, and providing an explanation that often is way too wordy, especially when Ed Hochuli is working the game.
It’s a helmet-to-helmet hit, or it isn’t. The replay official should have the power to throw the flag from the replay booth.
I don’t mean that literally. Then again, it could be fun to watch the yellow flag sail down from the second deck.