Sunday afternoon, linebacker Jamie Collins made his debut for the Detroit Lions following a three-year contract agreement. He did not remain on the field for long, however, due to an ejection for tapping a referee with his helmet. Fortunately for the Lions, Collins will avoid an NFL suspension.
According to NFL insider Tom Pelissero, the league will not suspend Collins for his actions on Sunday despite the ejection. The linebacker was seemingly trying to demonstrate something that had happened to him when he leaned over and tapped referee Alex Kemp with his helmet. However, the referee ruled this as unnecessary contact and ejected Collins. Speaking to reporters later, Kemp explained his decision.
First ejection of the season 👀
Jamie Collins gets ejected for hitting a ref with his helmetSeptember 13, 2020
"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 NFL rulebook states that "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." Kemp used the strict interpretation of the rule when deciding to eject Collins, and he said that he could not simply penalize the linebacker for unsportsmanlike conduct, which would have kept him in the game.
While the broadcast team agreed with Kemp's decision, NFL fans strongly expressed an opposing viewpoint. Many said that Collins stopped moving when his helmet touched Kemp, but the referee leaned back as if he had been hit with full force. The Twitter users said that he went "full James Harden" while flopping.
The Collins ejection took over Twitter for much of Sunday's game, the conversation later turned in the fourth quarter. Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky struggled through the first three-quarters of the division game. He couldn't regularly find his receivers when necessary and prompted several comments on social media. However, Trubisky flipped a switch in the fourth quarter and threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Anthony Miller.
Despite the late score, the Lions still had an opportunity to secure the victory. Matthew Stafford led his team down the field and threw a perfect pass to running back D'Andre Swift, who was in the end zone with five seconds remaining. The rookie dropped the ball, and the Lions ultimately lost a very bizarre game.