Namely that the NFL has a major problem with its officiating.
Mayfield, along with Los Angeles Rams linebacker Clay Matthews and Detroit Lions defensive back Tracy Walker, were each fined $12,500 for their comments about the poor state of officiating in last week’s games.
Not only was #Browns QB Baker Mayfield fined $12,500 for his comments on officiating, #Rams LB Clay Matthews and #Lions DB Tracy Walker were also fined $12,500 for the same offense, I'm told. A message from the NFL amidst mounting criticism in locker rooms and elsewhere.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 19, 2019
The NFL levied its fine against Mayfield after he pointed out that the officials erred when calling an illegal blindside block on wide receiver Jarvis Landry in the third quarter of Cleveland’s eventual loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Following the game, Mayfield had the audacity to question the call, according to The Beacon Journal:
“The refs are never an excuse. I’ll probably get fined for saying this, but it was pretty bad today. [Seahawks rookie safety Marquise Blair was] squared up with [Landry], running at him, he’s lowering his head into Jarvis. What’s [Landry] supposed to do? Avoid him? This isn’t bull fighting. I don’t know. It ticks me off.”
Rubbing a little more salt in the wound, the NFL did not fine Landry for the play, which would imply that the league agreed with Mayfield. After all, if it truly was an illegal block, why would the league not fine Landry?
The Landry play was not the only questionable penalty against the Browns last week. Safety Morgan Burnett was called for a horse-collar penalty in the fourth quarterback against Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. But, like Landry, the NFL opted not to fine Burnett, which lends credibility to the idea that the penalty was bogus to begin with.
Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi was not as lucky, as he was handed a fine of $10,527 for a roughing the passer penalty in the first quarter.