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NFL Explains Why Deshaun Watson Wasn’t Ejected for Shoving Ref



Steelers Browns QB Deshaun Watson
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 18, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The NFL explained why Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was not ejected for pushing an official late in his team’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday.

Sort of.

After Watson was flagged for grabbing the facemask of Steelers linebacker Kwon Alexander and shoving him as the two went out of bounds near the Pittsburgh sideline.

That prompted the exchange of words between Watson and several Steelers players. Umpire Barry Anderson positioned himself in front of Watson, and started pushing him back away from the Pittsburgh sideline.

Watson then shoved Anderson out of the way to continue to go at the Steelers players.

Watson was flagged for his initial foul against Alexander, but was not ejected for contact with an official, which is supposed to be an automatic penalty.

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

The on-field officials deciding not to further punish Watson does not mean that he will not face supplemental discipline from the league.

Watson said he didn’t feel that he lost his composure, but took responsibility for the facemask.

“Both times was my fault, but as far as the face mask and things like that, I’m stiff-arming like everyone else,” he said. “Once they grab my arm, as I’m running and they keep pushing, only way I can really let go is just swing across. …

“I spoke with the ref, and we were going back and forth and having a good conversation. He just let me know that it’s hard for them to see things like that. All they’re looking for is the head. So, I told him I just have to do better.”

If Watson is fined or in the unlikely event that he is suspended for contacting the official, it will come down on Saturday.

RELATED: Should Browns QB Deshaun Watson Have Been Ejected?

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September 19, 2023 7:16 pm

He should get fined, never ok to shove the Referee.

September 20, 2023 2:04 am

The facemask against Kwon was reason enough to remove Watson from the game, but he also grabbed hold of Nick Herbig’s mask later. How many times will they allow him to get away with this harmful habit? Enforce the rules or cancel football as a sport.

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