ESPN’s Adam Schefter revealed the news on Wednesday afternoon:
Here is a look at the play:
Brooks' fine brings with it another storyline as well, as former Baltimore Ravens star linebacker and current ESPN analyst Ray Lewis has offered to absorb half of the financial penalty.
As per Larry Brown Sports, the future Hall of Fame linebacker was not only embarrassed that the referees decided to penalize Brooks for a hit he felt was legal, but also furious that the league office would likely fine him on top of that. He discussed the matter on ESPN's Monday Night Countdown prior to the game between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers:
This is the most embarrassing call in the National Football League since the Tuck Rule and Tom Brady. I’m serious. I’ve just never seen this type of insult to defenders…When you look at the hit, Ahmad Brooks took the hit and hit him exactly where he’s supposed to hit him. Drew Brees’ neck slid down to that man’s arm. For that to be a flag is embarrassing.
Lewis backed up the talk following word of the fine, per ESPN's Adam Schefter:
Tedy Bruschi, a former New England Patriots linebacker and current ESPN analyst, also claimed he would pay a portion of the fine, adding, “Keep hitting him hard,” during a televised segment on the network (h/t Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group):
Brooks was penalized for his sack on Brees late in the fourth quarter of the contest. His controversial hit forced a fumble that the Niners recovered. With a 20-17 lead, San Francisco would have been in a great position to win the game.
However, because Brooks hit Brees around the neck and head area, a penalty flag for roughing the passer was thrown, and the Saints were given 15 yards and an automatic first down. New Orleans would tie the game with a Garrett Hartley field goal on that drive and eventually win it in the waning seconds with another three-point chip shot.
Brooks told Taylor Price of 49ers.com that he felt the hit was legal: “I felt like I hit him with my chest. Like I bear-hugged him… kind of hard.”
As per the 49ers' official Twitter feed, head coach Jim Harbaugh echoed that sentiment:
It was likely a tough decision to fine Brooks. Hopefully the league can become a bit more transparent in the future in regard to which hits are legal, which aren’t and what exactly players will be fined for.