Green Bay Packers linebacker Quay Walker and Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams were both fined for their offenses in last week’s Sunday night matchup. The infamous action in which Walker shoved a Lions athletic trainer, resulting in his ejection, was his second such penalty of the 2022 season. In a much less severe circumstance, Williams’ hip-thrusting celebration after his two touchdowns (which broke Barry Sanders’ franchise record of touchdowns in a season) also drew punishment from the NFL. Surprisingly, it is Williams who is coming away with a stiffer penalty.
The NFL Doles Out Punishments to Quay Walker and Jamaal Williams
For his repeat offense of aggressive physical contact with a non-player, Packers linebacker Quay Walker has been fined $13,261. Earlier in the season, Walker shoved a Buffalo Bills staff member on the sidelines during the Packers’ loss in Buffalo. He was ejected from that contest as well.
Williams, who is known for his fun-loving persona and eccentric dance moves, was fined $18,566 for his touchdown celebrations. The former Packers running back scored twice on Sunday night and did his dance after each score. His first touchdown tied the Lions’ franchise record for rushing touchdowns (16), and his second one broke it. Williams was not flagged for either celebration.
Do the Fines Make Sense?
While Quay Walker should be fortunate that he is not being suspended for any amount of games, one has to question why he is being fined less for a repeated aggressive act towards non-players than Jamaal Williams who was just dancing. A quick look at the numbers reveals that Williams has been fined $5,305 more for thrusting his hips than Walker is being fined for pushing an athletic trainer. Walker’s action resulted in his ejection from the game, and rightfully so. Williams’ celebrations did not seem to warrant a flag either time he scored.
Of course, the NFL has a long history of questionable punishments. For example, former Atlanta Falcons (and current Jacksonville Jaguars) wide receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended the entire 2022 season for betting on NFL games in which he was not playing. Meanwhile, Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShaun Watson got an 11-game suspension for numerous instances of sexual misconduct.
This is not to say that Ridley did not deserve punishment. He did. However, does a non-violent offense really warrant a stiffer penalty than a violent one?
According to the NFL it does, and that just doesn’t sit well.
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