Cleveland Browns safety Ronnie Harrison was fined $12,128 prior to Week 2’s NFL slate of games for the sideline altercation between him and Kansas City Chiefs running backs coach Greg Lewis in Week 1, according to NFL Media’ Tom Pelissero.
And it turns out that Lewis was actually fined as well.
“It was communicated to us that the Chiefs coach was fined by the NFL,” NFLPA president and Cleveland Browns offensive lineman J.C. Tretter told Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson on Monday, September 20. However, it is still unknown how much Lewis was fined by the NFL for his actions.
When the news broke that Harrison had been fined by the league, Pelissero also shared that the league had told Lewis any subsequent violations of Rule 13, Article 8 would result in discipline but did not state that the Chiefs coach had been fined for the altercation. Pelissero also wrote that the NFL had reviewed the sideline altercation and determined that Lewis’ actions weren’t worthy of a fine.
What League Said
“In a memo to clubs this week, the NFL reiterated that rule, which states: ‘Non-player personnel of a club (e.g., management personnel, coaches, trainers, equipment personnel) are prohibited from making unnecessary physical contact with or directing abusive, threatening, or insulting language or gestures at opponents, game officials, or representatives of the League. Penalty: Loss of 15 yards’,” Pelissero wrote.
“The memo added: ‘As a reminder, club personnel attempting to address an issue involving players and/or staff from an opposing team should not make unnecessary physical contact with any individual who is not a member of his or her own club. Please contact a member of the Football Operations department with any questions.’”
The original report by Pelissero seemed contradictory, which is why Robinson’s report makes a lot more sense. If the league told Lewis that any subsequent violation of Rule 13, Article 8 would result in discipline, then that must mean he broke the rule when he engaged with Harrison in the regular-season opener, which would merit a fine.
Early in the Chiefs’ 33-29 victory in Week 1 over the Browns, an ejection took place. After a play along Kansas City’s sideline, Harrison was stepping on a Chiefs player, which prompted Lewis to push Harrison aside so his player could get off the ground. Harrison reacted to the push by shoving the Kansas City assistant coach around the throat, which prompted the officials — after initially calling a penalty on the Chiefs’ sideline — to call offsetting penalties while also electing to eject Harrison from the game.
After the game, head coach Andy Reid was asked about the altercation and gave his side of the story.
“Yeah, so the fellow that was involved with it came over and he was on the chest of our player and that’s what happened,” Reid explained. “So, he (Lewis) was trying to get him (Harrison) off and he didn’t want to get off, so he kind of just lifted him a little bit and then he got hit. But he was there to help get that fellow who was leaning on our guy. That’s why there was a penalty, right? So, the officials fixed it, which I thought was important. You don’t do that on our sideline, you don’t do that to our guys, bottom line.”
Browns’ head coach Kevin Stefanski’s perspective on the situation was a little different, but still didn’t believe how Harrison reacted was okay.
“I do think that any contact that came from Ronnie was incidental,’’ Stefanski said, per Cleveland.com. “If you watch the tape, it’s pretty obvious that he’s getting collisioned as he’s trying to get off of their boundary, but that doesn’t excuse him from retaliating. You can’t do that. That’s something we all know, that the game officials will see the second guy not the first guy.’’