Ref ruled Jamie Collins made “unnecessary” contact before ejection

USA TODAY Sports

Even though it appeared that Lions linebacker Jamie Collins was trying to demonstrate something that had happened to him, officials went letter-of-the-law in ejecting him yesterday.

Via Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press, NFL referee Alex Kemp used the strictest interpretation of the rule to throw the veteran linebacker out early in the second quarter.

Kemp told a pool reporter that while players are allowed to put a hand on an official’s shoulder or make similar benign contact, he viewed Collins putting his helmet into his chest as “unnecessary.”

“No, players are allowed to touch officials, put a hand on your shoulder, or something of that nature,” Kemp said. “But unnecessary contact with a game official — it’s Rule 12-3-1-E — covers unnecessary contact to a game official. So, that’s what I went with.”

The rule reads: “Unnecessary physical contact with a game official. Under no circumstance is a player allowed to shove, push, or strike an official in an offensive, disrespectful, or unsportsmanlike manner. The player shall be disqualified from the game.”

Collins’ move might not have been wise, but it’s hard to interpret it as “offensive, disrespectful, or unsportsmanlike.” Regardless, Kemp immediately whipped out his flag, and after a short huddle with his crew, ejected Collins.

When Kemp was asked if he could have simply called Collins for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, he replied: “Not with his actions, unfortunately.”

Asked if the rule prevented him from ruling on intent, Kemp said: “I ruled unnecessary contact.”

Yesterday’s game was Collins’ first with the Lions, after they gave him a three-year, $30 million contract to come over from New England to add some leadership.

12 responses to “Ref ruled Jamie Collins made “unnecessary” contact before ejection

  1. I side with the player it was barely a touch and looked harmless. Sure didnt look to me that he was trying to butt the ref but show him something. Bad call on his part.

  2. The video of this shows the ref overacting to the very slight bump Collins did with his helmet. Drama queen IMO.

  3. Let me give this is try: it appears that Collins was trying to demonstrate something to the official by putting his head down, and in doing so accidentally made contact. But, that’s contact with a hard helmet to an uprotected referee; it wasn’t a big deal in this case, but if such action is allowed one day a player might accidentally hit even harder and hurt an official. The idea is that players in such protective coverings need to be responsible for how they “wield” such items, and it makes sense to exert a judgement-free ejection if the player is irresponsible, even when accidental. It sets the tone that they need to be aware of keeping enough space between themselves and referees to avoid such contact.

  4. While I agree that it was more of an innocent demonstration that wound up bumping an official, you need to toss the player there. No contact with officials should be allowed. Slippery slope if you start guessing intent.

  5. redsoxu571 says:
    Let me give this is try: it appears that Collins was trying to demonstrate something to the official by putting his head down, and in doing so accidentally made contact.

    bkinacti0n says:
    While I agree that it was more of an innocent demonstration . . .
    ==

    You’re both correct. That said, when’s the last time you saw any referee change a call because a player disputed it, or enhanced his case with a “demonstration?”
    Disagree with a call all you like, but just walk away. A “demonstration” is not going to get a call changed, but it can go awry and get you kicked out of a game — accident or not.

  6. The rules are the rules. I’d love to “demonstrate” my ability to safely drive 90 mph on the highway, but until they change the law to allow lead-foot middle aged guys to speed on the highway in their SUVs, I’m screwed.

  7. that was a very stupid move by Jamie and the ref was right to eject him. Would he have done that while playing for Coach Bill in NE?? of course he wouldn’t have. More evidence that the locker room does not respect Fatt Matt

  8. DOPEY ejection by the ref for sure. You can use common sense here he wasnt trying to show up the ref or anything. Very silly to toss him there IMO

  9. video show call as stands, lack of control during to many games by some players. Players want common sense when it comes with them but they have eyes shut for other things.

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