Antonio Brown Fined, Rewarded for TD Celebration
It’s called the “No Fun League” for a reason. On one singular play in Sunday night’s demolition of the Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was both awarded the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week award, and fined for his attempt to bearhug the goalpost after the score.
As it turns out, one highlight reel play is all that’s needed to walk away with one of the least coveted awards in the league.
After a disastrous night fielding kicks by Jacoby Jones – which included two fumbles, with one lost on the first play of the game – Brown took over punt return duties. His first attempt went for under five yards, before breaking out a long return for a touchdown with the game already well and truly over.
That one play was enough to earn him the honors, but it was his spread-eagle leap into the goalpost afterwards that drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for “using the goalpost as a prop” and a subsequent fine from the NFL office.
Brown was fined $11, 576 for the indiscretion, with the bizarrely specific amount being derived from incremental annual increases to player fines as imposed by the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
It should be a league-wide rule: if the referee can’t help but crack a smile while announcing the penalty, then it isn’t a penalty, and it certainly shouldn’t be subject to any sort of post-game punishment either.
Luckily for Brown and the Steelers, the fun and games didn’t cost anything beyond a little disposable income. Expect the superstar wideout to wear a more serious game face as Pittsburgh prepares to face division rivals and AFC standard-bearers Cincinnati in a much tighter affair this week.