|How should officials react to postgame abuse?
Ellison & Hughes: According to a league source, the NFL's decision to fine and reinstate Ellison, after placing him on administrative leave, follows a postgame confrontation between Ellison and Buffalo Bills player Jerry Hughes on December 2. Upon leaving the field and heading to the officials' room after Miami defeated Buffalo that day, Hughes appeared to follow Ellison and seek out a conflict. In turn, Ellison purportedly called Hughes a derogatory name as Hughes shouted back toward Ellison, resulting in the League's decision to place Ellison on administrative leave.
Umpire Ellison Fined: After reviewing the evidence, the NFL fined Ellison $9,300—or his standard per-game rate—and reinstated him for this weekend's games. In other words, Ellison's punishment was a de facto suspension last week, and forfeiture of his entire game fee from the December 2 Bills-Dolphins contest.
Player Hughes Fined: Buffalo DE Hughes received a $53,482 fine for his actions. Hughes is set to earn approximately $10.4 million, including bonuses, or $6.35 million in base salary alone, which means his $53,482 fine represents approximately 0.84% of this base salary figure, or about one-seventh of a game fee.
SIDEBAR: 0.84% is notably greater than the .09%-of-salary demonstrated by MLB's $10,000 fine dished to Ian Kinsler for his postgame personal remarks about Angel Hernandez in 2017.
Related Post: Token Gesture - Kinsler Fined $10k, .09% of $11m Salary (8/21/17).
Lessons Learned: What we see here is the high standard officials are held to and what happens when an official's interpersonal actions deviate from that standard.
|Umpires toss players/coaches. Not vice versa.
Because of this dynamic, the onus on upstanding citizenship must fall to the officials.
Different Era: Earlier this week, tmac's Teachable Moment featured Jerry Crawford's animated arguments with Lou Piniella and Don Zimmer (and another with AJ Hinch).
Related Post: Teachable - Feisty Ejections, Jerry Crawford Style (12/12/18).
|Crawford's battles were measured.
Even so, we must remain "in control" and, as Crawford did in the Teachable, "let you know I'm here," while still not crossing the line into personal insults, as Ellison purportedly did by allegedly calling Hughes a derogatory name.
Consider this: If a player or coach flagrantly violates the sporting rules by verbally attacking or abusing an official, the official's recourse is to issue an administrative warning, technical foul, unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, code violation, misconduct, game misconduct, and/or ejection.
|Crawford tells Hinch it's time to go.
Even after Crawford finishes his bobblehead sequence with AJ Hinch in the aforementioned Teachable, he quickly returns to the rulebook by ordering Hinch to leave the field (which Hinch does shortly thereafter). Again, Crawford's rhubarbs were largely controlled.
Now, if a player or coach engages in such misconduct after the game is over and after the official's jurisdiction over the game has terminated, the official's recourse is to document the misconduct and file a report with the assignor, supervisor, commissioner, league, conference, etc. At this point, the contest rules largely fall away and it's now an issue of violating league protocol, rather than violating an individual contest rule. Because the governing documents and codes are different in this postgame environment, it requires a different tact.
|Ejection 161: Doug Eddings (3; Ian Kinsler)
Toronto had complained about HP Umpire Adrian Johnson's strike zone during the game, but the crew effected no ejections—in fact, none of Eddings' 85 major league ejections through 2018 have featured a Blue Jay.
Jacoby's alleged actions weren't solely confined to verbal abuse (he accused MLB of a "very biased, harsh, and unfair" penalty, adding that he refused to apologize despite reports stating he allegedly "pinned Eddings against the wall and had his arm around his throat") and could have provoked Eddings into a fight, which we would certainly have heard about. Instead, Eddings handled it a different way, and he didn't receive any punishment for his response.
The reason we didn't see any publicly announced discipline for Eddings is because according to multiple reports—from crew chief Bill Miller, a Red Sox security staffer, and MLB's Resident Security Agent assigned to Boston—Eddings didn't cross the line with Jacoby as Ellison purportedly did with Hughes on December 2, 2018. Instead, he let his crew chief, Miller, file a report with the league, and MLB took care of the purported postgame miscreant, suspending Jacoby 14 games, or about nine percent of his salary. Just your standard offseason lesson in handling incidents after the game is over.
Related Post: Jays Appeal Punishment for Jacoby-Eddings Ump Shove (5/5/15).