If you haven’t had your fill of upside-down this week, here’s another bit of dizziness courtesy of the NFL: The league fined Seahawks CB Richard Sherman $9,115 for his collision with Bills kicker Dan Carpenter Monday for a play that was a clean block after Sherman was flagged — but not whistled — for offsides.
The good news is the that the NFL was silent on the desire of Carpenter’s wife, Kaela, to have Sherman castrated. But the week is not over.
Sherman confirmed to reporters Thursday that he received a letter from the league informing him of the fine, saying the hit on Carpenter constituted unnecessary roughness, even though there was no evidence of a whistle stopping play. Once a rusher tips or blocks the ball, rules offer no prohibition on hitting the kicker.
“They made sure that they made it unappealable because they said they can’t hear the whistle on the film, and they said I hit him after the whistle, which was not true,” Sherman said. “But you can’t really appeal something that’s he said/she said.”
Sherman came unimpeded from the right side and hit the ball while in the holder’s hand before flying into Carpenter as his right leg approached the ball. It was a free play, meaning the offense continued and would would have earned three points if Carpenter made the field goal.
The Seahawks notably benefited from an offsides free play in the 2014 NFL Championship against San Francisco. Using a hard snap count, QB Russell Wilson drew DE Aldon Smith into an offsides penalty before Wilson sent a fourth-and-seven pass to WR Jermaine Kearse in the end zone for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown. Wilson was not hit, but it would have made no difference.
In an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle, former vice president of officiating Mike Pereira disagreed with his successor, Dean Blandino, who claimed the contact was too rough.
“What did Richard Sherman do wrong other than being offsides?” Pereira said. “There’s no whistle until after he made the contact.”
What made the play more unusual was Sherman arrived before the ball was airborne.
“Usually we don’t run into the kicker because the ball is already kicked,” Sherman said. “When the ball is still on the ground, there’s no other way to get there but to go at that angle. People are like, ‘What is that angle that you were going at? You were trying to hurt the kicker.’ No, there’s no other angle.”
Sherman believed the NFL was caving to public pressure regarding consistency on player safety.
“The league responds to public pressure on a number of issues, and they’ve shown the ability to fold under public pressure,” he said. “This is just another one of those opportunities. The public sees things in slow-motion, super-slow-motion, so the league feels a reason to try to justify things.”
He said he wouldn’t protest the fine. Probably just as well. After the litany of complaints Sherman has directed at the NFL recently, the league probably would appoint as hearing arbitrator Carpenter’s wife, Kaela Carpenter, and her unique brand of barnyard justice.