The NFL is going soft. There’s seemingly nothing more important right now than “player safety.” Or, at least, the appearance that they care about player safety. On Sunday, NFL referees ejected Washington Commanders cornerback Emmanuel Forbes after a helmet-to-helmet hit on Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett.
The hit deserved a flag, no question, and referees threw one. They called Forbes for a 15-yard personal foul for unnecessary roughness. Fine. But then, after a review by off-site officials, refs sent Forbes to the locker room.
Forbes lowers the crown of his helmet and connects with Lockett’s helmet. That’s a penalty. There’s no debate about it.
However, an ejection usually requires above-and-beyond intent or contact. Forbes uses his arms to try and wrap up Lockett, showing that he attempted to make a tackle. The ball had just bounced off Lockett’s hands, so Forbes is trying to make a play.
I understand that the NFL wants to eliminate these helmet-to-helmet hits. But, a 15-yard penalty and a fine accomplishes the goal of discouraging the behavior.
However, throwing a player out of a game for trying to make a play is excessive. This is a perfect example of “targeting” in college football. For that hit, college referees surely would have ejected Forbes.
But, this is the NFL. Not college football. These aren’t college kids, but professional athletes.
The league is already the subject of a ton of criticism surrounding fines. They’ve dished out heavy financial punishments for seemingly “normal football plays.”
With that in mind, Forbes can expect a hefty penalty coming his way during the week.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on X – formerly known as Twitter: @RealDanZak
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