After reviewing the incident between Cleveland Browns safety Ronnie Harrison and Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Greg Lewis, the NFL decided Harrison warranted a fine of $12,128 while Lewis received a warning.
NFL rules specifically prohibit non-player personnel from making any contact with an opponent, which is why they threw the flag on Lewis. As Harrison retaliated, that drew a flag of its own.
Initially, Lewis was flagged during the game. It wasn't until after a review that Harrison was flagged and then ejected.
The NFL deemed that Lewis's actions did not rise to the level of warranting a fine.
A warning may be far more serious than it sounds, but Harrison both lost almost an entire game and pay, while the coach gets a warning for a move that ultimately created a decisive advantage for his team.
Lewis instigated incident with Harrison shoving him. It looks as though he's doing it as a result of thinking Harrison is deliberately stepping on a Chiefs player.
However, on the video, Harrison's foot is coming down as he's bumped by Chiefs offensive lineman Creed Humphrey. As a result, inferring intent on the part of Harrison is at the very least questionable. He was knocked off balance and his foot went down where it did in an attempt to regain it.
Harrison, getting shoved by a coach on the sideline, who is expressly forbidden from coming into contact with him, retaliates, shoving the coach back. That may warrant an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, but the ejection certainly looks excessive.
Compounding the issue is the fact that the Browns found themselves on the short end of the stick in terms of officiating in their last meeting with these same Chiefs, this time in the playoffs.
On a clear and obvious helmet to helmet hit, the type the NFL is specifically trying to take out of the game, officials did not throw a flag during the game. Then after the game, the NFL did not deliver any subsequent punishment, seemingly hiding behind the fact that no flag was thrown during the game.
Both issues look bad for the league. In the case of this latest one, players are throwing their hands up, as they see a player punished for a situation that an assistant coach started, and they see inequity.
Former NFL safety Tyvis Powell weighed in with the following on Twitter.