Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson got away with shoving an official Monday night in an incident that could have led to his ejection.
The contact happened in the third quarter of Monday's game against the Steelers, which Pittsburgh won 26-22. Prior to the shove, Watson was penalized for unnecessary roughness after grabbing the facemask of Steelers linebacker Kwon Alexander and slinging him out of bounds.
Deshaun Watson was called for unnecessary roughness. pic.twitter.com/qLDjfAJYRi
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) September 19, 2023
The incident led to yelling, pushing and shoving on the Steelers sideline. Umpire Barry Anderson stepped between Watson and the sideline in an attempt to simmer tensions. Watson then shoved Anderson to the side as he continued to engage with Steelers players. Watson's teammates then intervened and separated Watson from the situation.
Looks like Deshaun Watson got away with putting his hands on an official. Usually a no-no. pic.twitter.com/EbEjDiyaxO
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) September 19, 2023
NFL rules call for a penalty and ejection for any contact with an official deemed unnecessary.
Per section 12-3-1-e of the NFL rulebook regarding "Unnecessary physical contact with a game official:"
Under no circumstance is a player allowed to shove, push, or strike an official in an offensive, disrespectful, or unsportsmanlike manner. The player shall be disqualified from the game, and any such action must be reported to the Commissioner.
Game officials Monday in Pittsburgh apparently didn't believe Watson's contact met the standard for ejection, even though he clearly shoved Anderson out of his way. He wasn't penalized or ejected for the incident and played the remainder of the game.