ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Roethlisberger is "livid" about the fine and plans on filing an appeal. The NFL prohibits any technology that can transmit text messages from being worn or carried on the sideline. Apple Watches can deliver and send iMessages to others who have an Apple device.
According to the report, Roethlisberger was unaware he had the watch on because his wife dressed him since he is unable to use his right arm. Roethlisberger underwent surgery last month on his injured elbow.
Earlier this season, the NFL did not fine Cleveland Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for wearing a $350,000 Richard Mille watch in Week 1. The league did address the issue with Beckham, who said he would continue wearing watches.
However, the difference in this case is that Roethlisberger theoretically could have been communicating with people using the watch in violation of NFL rules. The league does not appear to be accusing Roethlisberger of any impropriety, only finding him in violation of an existing policy. The $5,000 fine amounts to a light slap on the wrist.
Roethlisberger's grievance is reportedly with the lack of warning he received.