The NFL has a unique approach when it comes to player fines for in-game infractions. The league doesn’t announce the fines, but the league will provide the information upon request from the media.
Every Friday, then, various media members ask — and the NFL provides. Somehow, however, the media hadn’t asked and the league office thus didn’t tell about a fine imposed on Browns rookie receiver Josh Gordon.
During a November 4 game against the Ravens, Gordon applied what was deemed to be an illegal block to Ravens safety Ed Reed. The officials flagged Gordon on the spot, and the NFL thereafter hit him in the wallet.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Gordon disclosed on Thursday that he received a $20,000 fine for the hit. The rookie is appealing the punishment.
“It was just that he wasn’t looking and it was a blindside hit,” Gordon said. “He never looked my way at all so that’s really where the penalty came from. We were confused about it for awhile and we still are because that’s my blocking responsibility and if I wouldn’t have done it our runner would have gotten tackled for a loss. Either way, it was a lose-lose situation.”
He’s right. The Browns lost the game, and Gordon lost the money.
He’s also wrong. The block would have been legal if Gordon merely had hit Reed with a shoulder in the shoulder. In those situations, the defender is defenseless, which means only that he can’t be hit in the helmet or neck area or with a helmet.