49ers’ Antone Exum fined $53,482 for unnecessary roughness

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When 49ers defensive back Antone Exum was flagged for unnecessary roughness on Sunday for a hit on Rams wide receiver Robert Woods, he and his teammates insisted he had done nothing wrong. The NFL strongly disagreed.

The league confirmed today that Exum has been fined $53,482 for unnecessary roughness. That’s a huge fine, one that suggests that Exum is lucky he didn’t get suspended, from the league’s perspective.

But from the 49ers’ perspective, Exum did nothing more than make a good football play. Exum’s teammate Richard Sherman said after the game he thought it was ridiculous to throw a flag on the play.

It’s just terrible,” Sherman. “He did all he could. He played by the rules. He hit him in the strike zone. And he got penalized. At this point, you’ve got to let him catch it and don’t hit him hard. Or you’ve got to take guys knees out.”

Those comments and that fine show the NFL and its players continue to have a disconnect about what is and is not legal.