Brandon Meriweather Suspended two Games
Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather has been suspended without pay for the first two games of the regular season for his sixth violation of unnecessary roughness rules relating to hits to defenseless players and impermissible use of the helmet.
In the second quarter of Saturday’s game against the Ravens, Meriweather was flagged for a hit on Torrey Smith. The NFL feels as if Meriweather used too much of his helmet on a defense-less player.
The suspension was handed down by NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent. As of Monday, September 1, Meriweather will not be permitted to attend team meetings and functions; attend or watch practices; appear at the club’s facilities for any reason; attend press conferences; appear at the team’s September 7 and September 14 games; or have contact with any club personnel, except to arrange off-site medical treatment or rehabilitation. Meriweather will be reinstated on Monday, September 15.
Under rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the suspension may be appealed within three business days. Some may remember that Meriweather had a similar suspension last year that once appealed was dropped to a one-game suspension instead of two.
Meriweather claims he aimed for the numbers and lead with his shoulder, which is what he was taught this offseason to do. It’s quite possible that Meriweather has developed such a reputation in the league for hits of this nature that he now gets targeted by officials.
“I aimed at the middle of his numbers,” Meriweather said. “I kinda seen the pass go. I went in, aimed low and I hit. I leaned in with my shoulder and did everything my coaches taught me to do. And I got flagged.”
The NFL released it’s statement about Meriweather and said the following:
Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7 of the Official Playing Rules states that “[i]t is a foul if a player initiates unnecessary contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture.” Article 7(a)(2) further explains that a player in a defenseless posture includes “[a] receiver attempting to catch a pass; or who has completed a catch and has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become a runner.”
Meriweather’s actions violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7(b)(1), which prohibits the following contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture: “Forcibly hitting the defenseless player’s head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, shoulder, even if the initial contact of the defender’s helmet or facemask is lower than the player’s neck, and regardless of whether the defensive player also uses his arms to tackle the defenseless player by encircling or grasping him.”
Note 2 in Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7 imposes a strict liability on the defender in the exact situation that existed in this instance: “A player who initiates contact against a defenseless opponent is responsible for avoiding an illegal act. This includes illegal contact that may occur during the process of attempting to dislodge the ball from an opponent. A standard of strict liability applies for any contact against a defenseless opponent, even if the opponent is an airborne player who is returning to the ground or whose body position is otherwise in motion, and irrespective of any acts by the defenseless opponent, such as ducking his head or curling up his body in anticipation of contact.”