The NFL has suspended Damontae Kazee of the Pittsburgh Steelers without pay for the remainder of the regular season and any potential postseason games. This disciplinary action comes in the wake of repeated violations of playing rules aimed at safeguarding the health and safety of players, with the latest incident occurring during Saturday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.
NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan issued the suspension citing a violation of Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9 (b)(1), which deems it a foul if a player "forcibly hits the defenseless player’s head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder." The league specified that the initial contact, even if lower than the neck, is considered a violation. The suspension is also based on Kazee's failure to avoid illegal contact against a defenseless opponent.
The league's letter to Kazee, authored by Runyan, highlighted a specific incident in the second quarter of the game against the Colts, where Kazee delivered a forceful blow to Colts' receiver Michael Pittman Jr.'s head/neck area while he was in a defenseless posture. The league deemed Kazee's actions flagrant, resulting in his disqualification from the game.
Runyan, in the letter, acknowledged Kazee's history of multiple prior violations of player safety rules. Stressing the significance of imposing greater penalties for repeated violations, Runyan noted the substantial risk of injury to opposing players associated with Kazee's actions.
As a result, Kazee is set to miss crucial upcoming games against Cincinnati, Seattle, and Baltimore, along with any potential postseason games. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Kazee has the option to appeal the suspension. The appeal process, if initiated, will be overseen by either Derrick Brooks or James Thrash, the hearing officers jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA to decide appeals of on-field player discipline. The league's swift and stern action underscores its commitment to maintaining player safety and upholding the integrity of the game.
This is Dez Barnes of Pretty Girls Love Sports, a journalist on the MTMV Sports platform. She is a retired US Army veteran, professional cheerleader, pet mom, and avid sports lover. Feel free to follow her writings as she dives into the latest sports news! You can find her on all social media channels @PGLOVESPORTS.