Seahawks Insider Blog

Richard Sherman says he won’t appeal NFL fine for hitting kicker after whistle that never was

Then-Buffalo Bill Dan Carpenter (2) complains to referee Walt Anderson after former Seahawk Richard Sherman (25) ran into the kicker during a game in Seattle in 2016. Anderson, a 17-year veteran referee with a reputation for throwing flags, will head an all-star officiating crew on the Seahawks’ wild-card playoff game at Dallas Saturday night.
Then-Buffalo Bill Dan Carpenter (2) complains to referee Walt Anderson after former Seahawk Richard Sherman (25) ran into the kicker during a game in Seattle in 2016. Anderson, a 17-year veteran referee with a reputation for throwing flags, will head an all-star officiating crew on the Seahawks’ wild-card playoff game at Dallas Saturday night. AP

Richard Sherman says he’s not going to appeal his fine by the NFL for hitting Buffalo Bills kicker Dan Carpenter -- because the league made sure the reason it fined him could not be appealed.

“They made sure they made it un-appealable, because they said they can’t hear the whistle on the film,” Sherman said at his locker before his Seahawks practiced Thursday for Sunday night’s showdown at New England. “And they said I hit him after the whistle, which is not true.

“But, you can’t really appeal something that is he-say, she-say.”

Sherman added: “The league responds to public pressure on a number of issues, and they’ve shown the ability to fold under the pressure. This is just another one of those opportunities.”

You can see -- and hear -- for yourself whether Sherman hit the kicker after the whistle on Carpenter’s first-half field goal attempt Monday night during Seattle’s 31-25 victory over Buffalo here:

You can see -- and hear -- Sherman’s point.

At least he’s just getting docked about $9,000 -- and not being castrated like a wild animal on a farm, as Carpenter’s wife suggested he should.

“That’s what the fine letter said; it said I hit him after the whistle so that’s why I was getting fined for hitting him after the whistle.

“What am I going to say? I’m going to say, ‘You didn’t blow the whistle.’ And they are going to say, ‘Well, we are saying they blew the whistle.’”

Sherman said an appeal on principle would be “a long, thoughtless process.”

“Their logic is impeccable,” he said, facetiously. “There’s not really a fight. I’m still fine with everything. Makes no difference.”

Adding to Sherman’s incredulity: An ESPN report earlier Thursday said the league will not be sanctioning referee Walt Anderson and his crew for how not only the whistle/no whistle issue but a botched delay-of-game sequence upon the Bills’ attempt at a re-kick.

“And I’m getting disciplined,” Sherman said Thursday. “That’s the way of our league.

“It just shows you every day they find new ways to surprise you. ... I just enjoy it man, it makes me laugh. It’s entertainment.”

This is at least the third time he’s been fined for on-field acts.

In 2013, from another Monday night game, he was fined $7,875 for a hitting then-New Orleans wide receiver Kenny Stills in the back of the end zone at the end of an incomplete pass. Sherman got flagged for unnecessary roughness for that hit, though Still told New Orleans reporters later that week he didn’t think Sherman should have been fined.

Earlier in that 2013 season, Sherman said, he got fined for a roughing-the-quarterback penalty against then-Tennessee quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, “which was also outrageous.”

I asked him if he was a lower-profile player and the Bills game hadn’t been in the league’s showcase slot of Monday Night Football, if he thought the league would have assessed a fine.

“No, I don’t think the play would have happened. Nobody would have noticed. It would have been a nothing play,” he said.

“People don’t understand free-play rules...they don’t realize the play isn’t called dead until the referee calls it dead. And usually when a quarterback sees a rusher coming (on an unabated offside foul like Sherman’s was Monday) they spike the ball. That’s usually how it goes.

“If nobody’s coming, they get a free play. They take a shot at the end zone. We’ve won games like that; we’ve thrown touchdown passes. But when the other team keeps playing then you keep playing. There was no whistle. Both teams kept playing.

“And I guess this is the result when both teams kept playing.”

Sherman believes the officials were letting Carpenter kick the ball, and had he pulled up and the ball had gone through the uprights the field goal would have counted and his offside foul declined by Buffalo. When Sherman didn’t hear the whistle, he kept rushing and blocked the kick while running through Carpenter. That’s when, in Sherman’s mind, the officials decided to whistle the play dead.

"They didn’t vote the ball dead until he kicked it," Sherman said, "so that is what it is.

"If I had just stopped, it would have been three points on the board."

Monday night NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said Sherman should have been penalized for unnecessary roughness.

Referee Walt Anderson told The News Tribune Monday night after the game in a pool report CenturyLink Field’s noise may have contributed to the delay in getting the play killed more promptly.

"I know it was loud out there for everybody," Anderson said. "That’s probably what took us a little bit of time to get everything shut down.”

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