Baker Mayfield on fine for criticizing officials: Freedom of speech I thought

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Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield was fined $12,500 by the league last week for saying the officials were “pretty bad” in Cleveland’s Week Six loss to the Seahawks.

Mayfield acknowledged that a fine would likely follow before he shared his thoughts on the officiating and said Wednesday that the punishment didn’t make him regret the comment because “it needs to be said.” Mayfield also said he would be appealing the fine.

“Well, one, I wouldn’t say it’s complaining when it’s blatantly obvious,” Mayfield said, via Cleveland.com. “I’d say that’s just stating facts. Freedom of speech I thought, but that’s OK, I get fined for it. It’s the league, that’s what they do. They fine you for some ridiculous things. That’s just how it is. There’s a reason that everybody is talking about it.”

While Mayfield’s a bit off about the protections from consequences for speech, he’s right that plenty of people around the league have been sharing critical thoughts about officiating this season and he’s right that fining people for doing it is something the league can do in response.

The NFL sent a memo reminding teams of that fact recently and Mayfield’s coach cited it for not doing the same thing his quarterback did in the wake of the Seattle loss.

44 responses to “Baker Mayfield on fine for criticizing officials: Freedom of speech I thought

  1. People don’t seem to understand what “freedom of speech” means.

    Sure, we’re free to speak our minds, but our words may have consequences. Baker needs to understand that he’s free to criticize the refs, but the consequences of doing so are receiving a fine.

    Freedom of speech means we get to say what we want to say without censorship or restraint. Freedom of speech does not mean we get to say whatever we want and suffer no consequences for doing so.

  2. Freedom of speech, yes… freedom of reprise, not so much… you agreed not to do it and was compensated to follow that rule…. simple economics

  3. Congrats, Baker Mayfield – you’ve joined the 90% of Americans who don’t understand what Freedom of Speech means.

  4. I mean I don’t totally disagree here. Actions have consequences so freedom of speech can’t absolve that. But c’mon, $12,500 for saying what he said is pretty absurd, don’t ya think?

  5. More like freedom from brain. Aside from being on his way to being a bust as a quarterback, he’s also a complete moron. He’s a perfect fit for the Cleveland organization.

  6. how sad – he has a college degree yet is completely ignorant of how rights work.

    HE can skip the fine easily – leave the NFL. Their power to fine is only contingent on his employment through them.

    In the real world, he will find he can’t say whatever he wants about the company that employees him and still be employed.

  7. “Well, one, I wouldn’t say it’s complaining when it’s blatantly obvious…”

    Jesus, when will this guy shut up. He’s like a 11 year old that gets a week-long grounding for doing something stupid, continues to run his mouth about it with his parents right there, and then gets a week tacked on for not shutting up. Just stop while you’re ahead.

  8. Seems like the league is attempting to mute any negative comments about the performance of the officials by fining people who speak out. In reality, it just draws more attention to how bad the officiating has gotten. Maybe work on fixing the problem instead of trying to silence those who point out the obvious.

  9. I think all players should be allowed to criticize the referees, as long as they preface it with; “I’m just a crybaby, but…………”

  10. It’s blatantly obvious that he didn’t understand & accept the reason fine was issued, so he will be really surprised when he is fined for these latest comments.

  11. like him or not he is right about the refs. the officiating has been a complete disaster this year.

    bring back the replacement refs

  12. Mayfield steps in it with the NFL with regularity, but there is a point in there somewhere. Instead of fining the people complaining, maybe the NFL should be reviewing and penalizing officials who seem to miss calls with regularity…

  13. Baker Mayfield is dumb as a rock. If he couldn’t throw a football he’d be unemployed.
    ———-
    i think about 85% of the nfl qualifies for that.

  14. “God, is he a doosh”

    and guys here criticize Mayfield when it seems clear that a douche-bag is someone who can’t spell douche!! wait a minute, I’m wrong, a guy who can’t do that is a complete idiot, but I digress.

    education in America what a lost cause………………….

  15. Baker needs to learn that the NFL is also exercising its freedom of speech in punishing him for speaking out. That’s how freedom of speech works here in America.

  16. I have the freedom of speech to call my boss an A HOLE but he has the freedom to fire my rear end. Sounds like a college educated kid.

  17. herkiethehawk says:
    October 23, 2019 at 3:57 pm
    how sad – he has a college degree yet is completely ignorant of how rights work.

    ——————

    It is sad, but most colleges today are not teaching the Constitution.

  18. It doesn’t seem as if Baker has been paying attention to any of the information given to him regarding his job.

  19. Say what you will about his football skills or lack thereof but Baker is an alpha male with a lot of moxie. Tells it like it is and never backs down. Perfect for a city like Cleveland.

  20. jfmod says:
    October 23, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    It is sad, but most colleges today are not teaching the Constitution.

    *************************************************************************

    That’s because most colleges never taught the Constitution, because students should be learning about it years before college in middle and high school.

  21. Freedom of Speech allows us to speak without fear of consequence. The fact that it is a billion-dollar-industry censoring it’s employees and not the government does not mean that it is a lesser offense.

  22. A&J Grant says:
    October 23, 2019 at 7:25 pm
    Freedom of Speech allows us to speak without fear of consequence. The fact that it is a billion-dollar-industry censoring it’s employees and not the government does not mean that it is a lesser offense.
    ———————————

    The constitution and facts don’t care about your feelings. Welcome to America.

  23. A&J Grant says:
    Freedom of Speech allows us to speak without fear of consequence. The fact that it is a billion-dollar-industry censoring it’s employees and not the government does not mean that it is a lesser offense.
    ==

    You, my friend, desperately need to go back to junior high, and this time stay awake.
    Freedom of speech as outlined in the Constitution says the government cannot censor your speech, PERIOD. Even that has limits (yelling fire in a crowded theater, for example). It does not apply in the public sector.
    You are still free to say or do what you wish outside the sphere of government influence, but you are NOT free from the consequences.
    The NFL has the right to ban its employees from publicly bashing another group employees, and it is specifically outlined in the contract Baker Mayfield and every other player signs and agrees to follow just before they start cashing enormous checks.
    If Mr. Mayfield keeps criticizing officials he will keep paying ever-increasing fines. If he doesn’t like that, he is free to quit the NFL and seek employment elsewhere.

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