In the aftermath of the ejection of Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, our man Gantt suggested that the punishment wasn’t justified because Kuechkly didn’t know he was making contact with an official.
While it’s likely Kuechly didn’t know, it doesn’t matter.
A league source has pointed out that the rules strictly prohibit any contact with game officials, regardless of whether the player knows or doesn’t know he’s making contact with an official.
In this case, Kuechly knew he was making contact with someone after the play. By making contact with the person who was making contact with Kuechly, Kuechly assumed the risk that he’d be contacting an official.