Following Sunday's loss to the Seattle Seahawks at home, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield voiced his frustrations with the NFL referees and the quality of their calls. He referred to the officiating as "pretty bad" and said that he would likely be fined. As it turns out, Mayfield was correct as the league has fined him for his comments.
According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, the comments in which Mayfield criticized a penalty on wide receiver Jarvis Landry will cost him $12,500. On the play in question, Landry was called for an illegal blindside block on safety Marquise Blair.
“[The officiating] was pretty bad today,” Mayfield said. “The guy is squared up with him, running at him and he is lowering his head into Jarvis. What is [Landry] supposed to do? Avoid him? This is not bull fighting. I don’t know. It ticks me off."
Mayfield is not the first person to voice his frustrations with the quality of the officiating in 2019, and he certainly won't be the last. In fact, he isn't even the only player to be fined this week.
Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker, who was penalized for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Green Bay Packers receiver Geronimo Allison while diving for a potential interception, also received a $12,500 fine for his comments. Walker referred to the officiating on Monday night as "awful" and recognized that he could also be fined.
Officiating has been a focal point throughout the first six weeks of the season as multiple players have been on the receiving end of controversial decisions. Whether the penalties or lack thereof have been called on passing or running plays has not mattered. These decisions have become talking points for the media.
In Monday night's battle between the Packers and Lions, there were four plays that were the source of controversy due to the officiating, and the game between the Browns and the Seahawks dealt with similar issues. The players are required to meet with the media following games and practices, which means that they will be asked about controversial moments. As more and more calls affect the win-loss records of the respective teams, it becomes more likely that the officials will hear even more criticism.
Mayfield and Walker were both fined for their recent comments, but it's entirely possible that they will not be the only players receiving this punishment in the 2019 season.
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