Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette will miss the team’s next game against the division-rival Indianapolis Colts after being suspended by the NFL for his role in Sunday’s melee during a game against the Buffalo Bills.
Fournette was ejected from the game along with Bills’ defensive end Shaq Lawson after both threw punches. At the start of the play on the field, Fournette had his helmet off and was on the Jacksonville sideline, nearly 50 yards away. After a small skirmish broke out, Fournette put on his helmet and ran across the field, moving past several combatants to get to Lawson, who was engaged with another Jaguars running back, Carlos Hyde. Fournette shoved then swung at Lawson. Lawson swung back then grabbed Fournette, whose helmet came off. They were separated by game officials and teammates.
On the way to the locker room, a fan threw a can of beer at Fournette as he was entering the tunnel. Sheriff deputies have said they are looking at security footage to find the culprit.
The two continued to jaw back and forth in the tunnel and were separated by security personnel.
Lawson was not suspended, and the reasoning lies in Fournette’s path to the brawl, according to NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan:
“Sportsmanship is the cornerstone of the game and the League will not tolerate game-related misconduct that conveys a lack of respect for the game itself and those involved in it... Video of the incident shows that you were not a participant in the play and that you ran from your sideline to the opposite side of the field to insert yourself as an active participant in a fight. Once you entered the fight area, you struck a member of the opposing team. Your actions adversely reflected on the NFL and have no place in the game.”
Fournette is appealing the suspension. It will be heard and decided by either Derrick Brooks or James Thrash, “the officers jointly appointed and compensated by the NFL and NFLPA to decide appeals of on-field player discipline.”
Fournette has lost his appeal and will sit out Sunday against the Colts. It actually hurts Buffalo’s playoff chances, as the Bills need some more Colts losses to get into playoff position.