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NFL Fines Steelers WR after Criticizing Officials



Steelers WR Diontae Johnson
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson runs with the ball against the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 29, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson has been fined by the National Football League for his comments about officiating following his team’s Week 8 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Johnson was fined $25,000 for his postgame comments after the Steelers lost 20-10 to the Jaguars in a game that had multiple controversial calls. 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.

“I didn’t like the refs today,” Johnson said. “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.”

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 fined for that hit on Saturday. Two Steelers players, outside linebacker T.J. Watt and safety Damontae Kazee, were fined for in-game actions against Jacksonville.