In the NFL, cameras are always watching.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield learned this the hard way on Saturday when he received a fine from the league office. According to Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot, Mayfield was fined $10,026 for unsportsmanlike conduct for his sideline celebration with Freddie Kitchens in which “he appeared to pretend to expose his privates.” The move came after a touchdown pass to tight end Darren Fellsthat extended Cleveland’s lead.
While the video does appear to match Cabot’s description of the events, it’s truly impossible to know the meaning behind each and every gesture. What appears one way on the television could mean something completely different on the sideline. Offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens, who was on the receiving end of the gesture added in his own thoughts on the matter, expressing confusion about the fine.
“I don’t know what he did wrong,’’ Kitchens said on Thursday. “I don’t know. I don’t understand what he did wrong. I don’t understand what the big deal is. He’s in the middle of a football game in the National Football League. There’s great emotion in a game of football, and whatever he does on the football field is on the football field so I do not know. I like guys that have a relentless pursuit of competition, and they rally around the competition. Sometimes when you’re in competition, some things you do, you just do. You do not even know why the hell you do it, but I do not have a problem with Baker. If I did, I would talk to him about it, and any conversation I had with him would stay between us.”
Of course, not everyone agrees with the fine handed down. Mayfield’s agent, Tom Mills, told Cleveland.com that they will be appealing the fine. Additionally, Mayfield responded to questions about the gesture by saying “oh well, I didn’t so…”
“I honestly couldn’t tell you. I don’t know,’’ Mayfield said. “We have a lot of stuff within our locker room, within what we have going on in the offense, a lot of inside jokes. Who knows what it was?”
While the league office may not appreciate Mayfield’s method for expressing his excitement, there are Browns fans that have fully bought in. A fan by the name of John Hillbery has started a GoFundMe campaign to pay the fine, or at least donate the money to charity. As of Saturday, the campaign has raised nearly $800 dollars in Mayfield’s defense.
With one final game in the season, Mayfield will be looking to lead his team to victory over the Baltimore Ravens. Doing so will end the season on a high note and give the Dawg Pound even more faith heading into the 2019 season. Although winning will help the Steelers potentially reach the playoffs.