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Diontae Johnson Won’t Appeal Fine for Criticizing Officials



Steelers WR Diontae Johnson
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson against the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 3, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson will not appeal his fine from the National Football League for criticizing officials, according to a report by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Johnson was fined $25,000 for his remarks after the Steelers’ 20-10 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 8, a game that featured multiple controversial calls by an inexperienced group of officials.

But not only did Johnson criticize the quality of the officiating, he said that the crew must have been paid to call the game in favor of the Jaguars, something that surely elicited action from the NFL.

“I didn’t like the refs today,” Johnson said on Oct. 29. “They must’ve gotten paid good today or something. That field goal, it hurt us coming into the half. Like, we would’ve been tied. They got the ball back and then we could score. Who knows? They were calling some stupid stuff. They should get fined for making bad calls. That’s how pissed I am because it cost us the game.”

Steelers WR Diontae Johnson

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson makes a catch against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 29, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The call that Johnson was referring to was an offside against Steelers guard Isaac Seumalo on a field goal that cost the Steelers three points. NFL officiating expert Mike Periera said the officiating crew misinterpreted a point of emphasis and made an incorrect call.

There was also an unflagged late hit that injured Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett, forcing him from the game. His replacement, Mitch Trubisky, threw two interceptions in the second half and was unable to lead the Steelers from behind, as Pickett has four times this season.

“I don’t care what nobody say, they cost us the game,” Johnson said. “We gotta make plays, but that doesn’t define us. They wanted them to win. Everything they were calling, it was all in their favor. All the calls, it is what it is.”

Jaguars defensive lineman Adam Gotsis was eventually fined for that hit. Two Steelers players, outside linebacker T.J. Watt and safety Damontae Kazee, were fined for in-game actions against Jacksonville.