Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett spoke his piece last Sunday about the current state of officiating in the NFL following the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
On Saturday, the NFL took its turn and reportedly fined Garrett $25,000 for publicly pointing out what everyone sees every week.
That is according to cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, who was first with the news.
Following the Jacksonville game, where Garrett was held without a sack despite going up against Blake Hance, the Jaguars fourth option at left tackle, Garrett could not hold his tongue any longer (quotes via a team-provided transcript):
“The officiating was a travesty today. It was honestly awful. And the fact that they’re letting them get away with hands to the face, holding false starting. I know they called a couple, but damn, they could have called it all game. And the one that cost us down on the two-yard line. I mean, respect to those guys, it’s a hard job, but hell, we have a hard job as well. You can’t make it harder by throwing, holding, and hands to the face out of the rulebook.
“And like I said, I got a lot of respect for those guys, but we get scrutinized for the plays that we don’t make. So someone has to hold them accountable for the plays or the calls they don’t make. And they need to be under the same kind of microscope as we are every single play.”
Garrett knew he was risking a fine because the league office does not like it when players or coaches say the quiet parts out loud - Kansas City head coach Andy Reid is $100,000 lighter today after criticizing the officials after last week’s loss to the Buffalo Bills - but when asked about it again on Friday, Garrett took a pragmatic approach to the situation (quotes via a team-provided transcript):
“It is what it is. Right now I’m not getting any calls, so it can’t get much worse than that. I’m not trying to offend anybody. I just want them to do their jobs to the best of their ability. Same here.
“It was something that’s been stoked for a while last couple of weeks and other rushers have been also dealing with the same thing. I can only speak for myself, but once you got like a whole position kind of fed up with how they’re being treated. That’s when you know something is kind of off.”
Garrett is right, of course. The officials already treat him differently because he is such a matchup problem for offensive linemen that if they called the game fairly it would almost be unfair.
But the officials have the power to make life worse for him if they choose to, which everyone involved would hope is not the case as the Browns enter a vital four-game stretch in their quest to make the playoffs.
And if they do? Well, Garrett has shown he is not afraid to speak out so he might want to keep his checkbook close at hand for the rest of the season.