NFL cracks down on criticizing refs with fines for Baker Mayfield, Clay Matthews

Jack BaerWriter
Yahoo Sports

The NFL seems to be fed up with its players saying they’re fed up with the level of officiating this year.

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The league has fined Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, Los Angeles Rams linebacker Clay Matthews and Detroit Lions defensive back Tracy Walker $12,500 each for their comments on officiating after a rough week for the referees, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

All three players publicly ripped into a variety of questionable calls during last week’s games.

Baker Mayfield was not happy with the officiating after the Browns' loss to the Seahawks. He wasn't alone. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Baker Mayfield was not happy with the officiating after the Browns' loss to the Seahawks. He wasn't alone. (AP Photo/David Richard)

Mayfield started things off after a ludicrous illegal blindside block penalty was called on Browns receiver Jarvis Landry during the third quarter of last week’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He also predicted this punishment would be coming.

From the Akron Beacon Journal:

“The refs are never an excuse,” Mayfield said in his postgame news conference. “I’ll probably get fined for saying this, but it was pretty bad today. [Seahawks rookie safety Marquise Blair was] squared up with [Landry], running at him, he’s lowering his head into Jarvis. What’s [Landry] supposed to do? Avoid him? This isn’t bull fighting. I don’t know. It ticks me off.”

Walker got his punishment after the worst-called game of the week: The debacle that was the Green Bay Packers’ win over the Lions.

In a game that saw the Packers significantly helped by three blown calls in the game’s final minutes, Walker joined Barry Sanders, Ninja and more in blasting the refs.

From the Detroit Free Press:

“Extremely pissed off right now,” Walker said. “It is what it is. Disappointed. Hurt. We had that game. it’s going — I’m going to say the same [expletive], we should have won it. It is what it is, though. Got to bounce back.”

Asked who he was angry at, Walker said: “Honestly, just the whole game in itself.”

“I feel like we could have had a better game and we was supposed to come victorious with that game but Green Bay came to play,” he said. “There was some awful, awful calls, but we got to play through that. We got to overcome those, and so we didn’t, obviously, and we came up short.”

Told he might get fined for his comments, Walker said he didn’t care.

Matthews’ comments were the most public of the three, and also came in the aftermath of the Packers-Lions game. The linebacker went so far as to call out Al Riveron, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, by name.

And somehow, that’s not even close to the most expensive tweet in the sports world this month.

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