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#pounditSunday, February 25, 2024

NFL addresses why Deshaun Watson was not ejected for shoving official

Deshaun Watson shoves a referee

Deshaun Watson shoved an official during the Cleveland Browns’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night, but the star quarterback was not ejected. He will not be suspended, either.

Watson committed two personal fouls for grabbing defenders by the facemask when they were pursuing him on scramble plays. After the first, a scrum ensued during which Watson made contact with an official. The referee was trying to separate Watson from the Steelers sideline when the quarterback grabbed the official by the shoulders and shoved him aside.

While there was some speculation that Watson might be suspended, that never seemed likely. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network on Tuesday received an explanation from the league for why Watson was not ejected.

“Officials are called upon to maintain order on the field, and sometimes while performing those duties, there is inadvertent contact between players and officials,” the NFL said in a statement. “In this instance, in their judgment, the contact did not rise to the level of a foul.”

It is generous to call the contact from Watson inadvertent. While his issue was not with the official, Watson definitely shoved the ref to the side rather than accidentally bumping into him. Though, we did see a player get away with something similar last season.

Watson will likely be fined for the two personal fouls, but the league clearly views the incident with the official as a non-issue. He should be available to play in Week 3.

The Steelers beat the Browns 26-22 on what was another rough night for Watson. The $230 million man went 23/40 for 235 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.

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