NFL suspends Leonard Fournette 1 game for fighting in loss to Bills on Sunday

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The NFL has suspended Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette one game for fighting Buffalo defensive Shaq Lawson in Sunday’s loss to the Bills.

Fournette and Lawson were both ejected for throwing punches at each other after a scuffle involving multiple players ensued at the end of Donte Moncrief’s third-quarter catch near the goal line that saw the Jaguars wide receiver fighting for possession of the ball with Bills cornerback Levi Wallace. 

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Fournette, Lawson had to be separated in tunnel

Lawson and Fournette continued to jaw at each other and had to be separated in the single tunnel that leads to both locker rooms at Buffalo’s New Era Field after they were ejected.

Leonard Fournette was issued a suspension in addition to his ejection Sunday for leaving the sideline to fight. (AP)
Leonard Fournette was issued a suspension in addition to his ejection Sunday for leaving the sideline to fight. (AP)

League comes down hard after Fournette left sideline

From the NFL’s suspension statement to Fournette, written by VP of football operations Jon Runyan:

“Sportsmanship is the cornerstone of the game, and the League will not tolerate game-related misconduct that conveys a lack of respect for the game itself and those involved in it. … Video of the incident shows that you were not a participant in the play and that you ran from your sideline to the opposite side of the field to insert yourself as an active participant in a fight.”

Fournette is officially suspended for violating a rule that “prohibits unsportsmanlike conduct, including using abusive, threatening or insulting gestures to opponents and using baiting or taunting acts that may engender ill will between teams … which prohibits striking an opponent … and which prohibits throwing a punch at an opponent, even if no contact is made.”

No suspension announced for Lawson

The NFL did not announce a suspension for Lawson. While both were ejected, it appears that the league deemed Fournette warranted further punishment because he joined and escalated the conflict from the sideline. Carlos Hyde was in at running back on the play.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that Fournette intends to appeal the suspension, which is scheduled to be enforced for Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Fournette apologized for the incident and took the blame for the 24-21 loss. Moncrief’s touchdown on the play was overturned to be down at the 1-yard line. The Jaguars, who would normally lean on Fournette at the goal line, failed to score a touchdown on the drive and ended up missing a field goal.

The 3-8 Jaguars have lost seven straight and fallen out of the playoff hunt in the AFC.

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