Damontae Kazee ejected, deserves suspension and fine for this dirty hit on Cam NewtonSeptember 16, 2018
The NFL has done a good job enforcing ejections and fines for dirty hits through one week of the season, and the diligence continued into the second week on Sunday, as Falcons safety Damontae Kazee was tossed from the game against the Panthers after a clearly dirty hit on Cam Newton.
The play came as Newton was scrambling around the left side and looking to slide into the ground. Kazee launched himself helmet first right into Newton’s face, jarring the quarterback’s helmet. It was the definition of targeting.
Kazee was quickly ejected, and it’s a good thing he was, because there might have been a mutiny if the officials and the guys in the league office hadn’t acted. Ron Rivera was losing his mind on the sidelines (understandably) and there was a clear-cut belief that Kazee shouldn’t stay on the field.
The ejection was a layup. You can all but guarantee a fine will be coming as well. I’m more interested in whether or not the league will decide to suspend Kazee.
A lot of times they give guys “time served” in these cases — Kazee obviously will miss the entire second half and basically missed the entire game. The NFL might decide he was docked enough time with the hit and that taking away a second game would be too much.
Without trying to take away Kazee’s livelihood, I’d like to see the NFL do more. Hammer the safety with a suspension for a second game and send a message: head hunting won’t be allowed in the NFL, and risking another player’s health in the interest of making a defensive play won’t fly in the league.
Interestingly, Newton was quickly cleared through the concussion protocol — while the league was debating whether or not to toss Kazee, Newton was evaluated and immediately put back on the field for the Panthers next drive. Carolina would march down and score a touchdown, giving them a 10-3 lead (which the Falcons quickly eradicated on a touchdown to Calvin Ridley.)