The NFL home office is, by and large, a humorless entity.
But at least in one case, the league bosses have found their sense of humor.
According to cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, the NFL has decided to reduce the fine levied against Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield for a sideline gesture he made during Cleveland’s win against the Cincinnati Bengals on December 23.
Mayfield was originally fined $10,026 for the celebration - it is always fun to try and decipher how the NFL comes up with these amounts - but after an appeal, the fine was reduced to “just under $1,700.”
Head coach Freddie Kitchens, who was the team’s offensive coordinator for that game, had no issue with Mayfield’s enthusiasm when asked about it later that week, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
“I do not know what he did wrong. I do not know. I do not understand what he did wrong. I do not understand what the big deal is. He is in the middle of a football game in the National Football League. There is great emotion in a game of football, and whatever he does on the football field is on the football field so I do not know. I like guys that have a relentless pursuit of competition, and they rally around the competition. Sometimes when you are in competition, somethings you do, you just do. You do not even know why the hell you do it, but I do not have a problem with Baker.”
It was the proper response at the time and would be the proper response today. Mayfield helped energize the franchise and the fan base this past season, and there should be nothing wrong with showing a little emotion during a game.
Given the news that the NFL has reduced the original fine, the league office appears to be mostly in agreement as well.