In the latest of fines levied by the NFL to help curb blindside hits, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate has received a $21,000 penalty for his vicious block on Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee on Sunday, according to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News.
Seattle WR Golden Tate has been fined $21,000 for his hit on Sean Lee in Sunday's game. Lee has said his problem was Tate's celebration.— David Moore (@DavidMooreDMN) September 19, 2012
Tate hit Lee on a play where Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had flushed out of the pocket and decided to run to the outside. Seeing Lee in pursuit, the wideout loaded up and levied the boom while the linebacker was not looking.
During game action, there was no penalty on Tate for the hit. However, in today's NFL, a block like that is bound to elicit a myriad of reactions.
Some called it a clean football play (Lee called it "part of football," via ESPN's Calvin Watkins) while others pushed for Tate to get a fine.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (understandably) fit into the latter camp.
Via ESPN Dallas' Calvin Watkins:
I'm sure they will [fine Tate]. We saw the same thing you saw. That’s certainly something we know or expect penalties and fines about. They didn’t see the helmet hit or they would have called it.
Tate, on the other hand, refuted the notion that he led with his helmet and said on Monday (via Dave Mahler's radio program on KJR in Seattle) that he did not expect a fine.
Here is the wideout's quote transcribed by SportsRadioInterviews.com:
"I really don’t because … I don’t think I did anything wrong, but only time will tell. We’ll see what the NFL office says and we’ll go from there."
Nonetheless, the fine has been imposed and should come as no surprise. The NFL has cracked down on blindside hits, especially ones to the head area, in light of the league's increased emphasis on concussion safety.
Going forward, this hit should serve as a learning experience for players in a similar situation on the field.