Week 9: Bengals at Jaguars (video)
Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green and Jaguars defensive back Jalen Ramsey were both ejected at the end of the second quarter for an altercation after the play had been whistled dead.
At the end of the play, Green put his hand on Ramsey that seems innocuous at first look, but probably was not so innocent. “Throughout the game, we had warnings to both sidelines and to individual players,” referee Brad Allen told a pool reporter following the game. Allen also confirmed that Green and Ramsey were among the warned players.
So maybe something was said in that, which Ramsey took exception to, and pushed Green over. Green then administered a choke-hold/suplex and throws punches at Ramsey. Two flags came out in quick succession: one a clear-cut ejection, and the other an apparent offsetting personal foul. The crew ejected both players.
On its face, there is nothing ejectable from Ramsey’s actions, but this has not occurred in a vacuum. The first half has apparently been a tit-for-tat battle which the officials had issued ultimata to both parties and to the sidelines. While words and pushing may seem harmless, it makes the game unnecessarily difficult to officiate.
Since Ramsey was seen as instigating the fight, and having previously been warned, he was ejected despite no video evidence showing him throwing a punch. Whether this was an automatic ejection in this case, Allen said, “I don’t want to use the term ‘automatic’ because it would have been a [penalty] on its own but we also had a fight. We ended up with a fight by Cincinnati but we had the instigator in Jacksonville. Therefore, they were both disqualified.”
There is a legitimate gripe from Jacksonville that Ramsey’s foul is only an ejection because of Green’s manic response. Would that have risen to the level of an ejection? This is something the league office will review with the officials’ game cards and the level of warnings issued. I don’t think it is likely, though, that Ramsey is ejected without the fight, but at some point the officials have to level ejections after sufficient warnings have been issued.
These are the sixth and seventh ejections in the NFL this season. It isn’t out of the question that A.J. Green faces a suspension for his actions, judging by the level of combativeness he escalated the situation into.
Allen’s comments in full are below.
Rich Madrid contributed to this report. Photo: Jacksonville Jaguars.
Postgame interview with referee Brad Allen
Q: Why was Jalen Ramsey ejected from the game as a result of the altercation with A.J. Green?
Allen: Number 20 of Jacksonville [Ramsey] was ejected for a flagrant personal foul, which started the altercation which resulted in a punch from number 18 of Cincinnati [Green]. They were both disqualified.
Q: Was Ramsey shoving Green to the ground result in an automatic ejection for Ramsey?
Allen: I don’t want to use the term “automatic” because it would have been a [penalty] on its own but we also had a fight. We ended up with a fight by Cincinnati but we had the instigator in Jacksonville. Therefore, they were both disqualified.
Q: Ramsey and Green were seen yapping throughout the first half. Did any members of your crew warn them?
Allen: Yes, absolutely.
Q: At what point did a member of your crew say something to Green and Ramsey in the first half?
Allen: Well, first of all, I can’t tell you what we have on our game cards because they’re back in the [officials’ locker] room. But throughout the game, we had warnings to both sidelines and to individual players, at which time we recorded. I can’t tell you the specifics of what time.
Q: The fact they had been warned, did that make the decision to eject them easier?
Allen: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Q: During the Green-Ramsey fight, a lot of other players from both teams were involved —
Allen: We try to get the instigators of a situation like that. That’s who we believe we got.
Q: To recap, 18 threw a punch, which was the reason for his ejection?
Allen: That was number 18 of Cincinnati. He was fighting.
Q: And Ramsey didn’t need to throw a punch to get ejected?
Allen: That’s correct. You don’t have to throw a punch in order to be disqualified.