Odell Beckham Jr. definitely punched Marlon Humphrey – also grabbing the cornerback’s facemask, attempting a sweeping leg kick and pulling him to the ground.
Humphrey definitely did not choke Beckham.
Instead, Humphrey did what he’s coached to do: protect himself, all while holding on to Beckham’s jersey the entire time.
The two players got into a fight during Sunday’s game, leading to a flurry of offsetting penalties on both sides but no ejections.
On Sunday and Monday, Browns Head Coach Freddie Kitchens sounded off about Humphrey not being ejected, and said he planned to talk with NFL head of officiating Al Riveron about the incident.
“Here’s my big deal with that: I just want to have consistency on how we’re going to deal with things, OK?” Kitchens said during a Monday conference call. “I don’t like seeing our player on the field and someone’s hands around his throat. I don’t like that. I don’t think that needs to be in our game, and I would be the first to say that if it was our guy doing it.”
If there was going to be an ejection, it seemingly should have been for Beckham. Punching is not an automatic ejection by rule, though it certainly can result in that. Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack was thrown out for punching in Week 1.
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday that he isn’t sure whether there should have been an ejection, but he’s handling the situation internally.
“I just try to focus on what I’m going to say to our player in that situation, because you can’t control the way the officials see it,” Harbaugh said Monday.
“I’m not exactly sure why [Humphrey] got the foul, but I’m sure they’ll tell us what they thought they saw. Based on the close up, the footage that we had, [Humphrey] pinned him [Beckham] on the ground after about three or four things happened.”
It appeared that Beckham’s actions drew the first flag, which would mean Humphrey’s retaliation is what caused offsetting penalties. That is what Harbaugh doesn’t want to see from Humphrey or any of his players.
“Let’s walk away from that, and let’s take our 15 yards, and let’s move on. Take the profit,” Harbaugh said. “Marlon played a really good game against him. Beckham played a really good game, and it was a great battle between those two guys. Tempers flared right there. I just don’t want the penalty.”
The footage speaks for itself, but here’s a play-by-play:
- The play happened late in the third quarter. Humphrey had, to that point, held Beckham without a catch. It was the first time in the All-Pro’s career that he didn’t catch a pass in the first three quarters, and it clearly got under his skin.
- It was a run play, and Beckham took Humphrey to the turf with a wide swing of his right arm. Humphrey grabbed the front of Beckham’s jersey and popped to his feet. Beckham then grabbed Humphrey by the facemask and punched the side of Humphrey’s helmet.
- Beckham didn’t let go of Humphrey’s facemask. Humphrey didn’t let go of Beckham’s jersey. It stayed that way after Beckham tried to sweep Humphrey with his leg, but instead pulled him to the ground.
- Humphrey pinned the receiver to the turf, but, contrary to what Kitchens said, did not wrap his hands around Beckham’s neck and did not choke him.
Still, it was Humphrey who personally apologized to Beckham, who finished with just two catches for 20 yards, on the field after the game.
“That’s not really the brand of football I want to represent,” Humphrey told reporters. “The whistle blows, it’s got to be over with. I got my team a flag.”
Asked whether Beckham offered an apology in return, Humphrey said he did not.
“I don’t think he did, but I definitely told the referee he should have been ejected,” Humphrey said. “But it is what it is. Emotions flare. I enjoy going against a top guy like that.”
Beckham’s postgame comment on the incident was: “It’s hot out there. We’re just competing. I’m just upset that I lost my earring.”