BY Bryan Chai, The Western JournalJanuary 9, 2023
1 year ago

NFL Player Ejected from Game After On-Field Altercation with Trainer Who Was Attending to Injured Player

Despite roots dating back further than 100 years, the NFL still finds ways to have its fans in 2023 gasp, "I've never seen that before."

And while some incidents, such as Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin's harrowing health scare during the final "Monday Night Football" game of the year, have made NFL fans recoil in horror while gasping, other incidents were more likely to leave fans scratching their heads after gasping.

One head-scratching incident came in the final quarter of the entire season Sunday night, when the Green Bay Packers hosted the Detroit Lions.

First, the stakes: The Packers were put in a position where all they had to do was beat the division-rival Lions to make the playoffs. The Lions, who had been eliminated from playoff contention by the time the game started, were looking to play spoiler to their rivals (a Lions win meant that the Seattle Seahawks would make the playoffs over the Packers).

Well, the Lions successfully played spoiler, sending Green Bay to an early offseason with a 20-16 win at Lambeau Field. But on the way to that victory, a truly ignominious moment was caught on camera, the kind of moment that was so hard to grasp, the referees almost didn't even notice.

The moment:

When Lions running back D'Andre Swift was injured in the fourth quarter, a member of the Detroit medical staff tried to get into the pile of humanity to check on his player.

Packers standout rookie linebacker Quay Walker apparently took offense to being gently moved out of the way and shoved the Lions trainer in his back.

A flag was immediately thrown to assess the obvious penalty, but curiously, Walker initially stayed on the field, ready for the next snap as both teams lined up. Before the ball was hiked, however, the refs stopped play to officially kick out Walker.

Curiously, nary a mention was made about Packers defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt, who appeared to bump into the trainer intentionally after the Walker incident.

It was a momentous penalty, helping the Lions score the go-ahead touchdown. Walker's absence was also noticeable on Detroit's final drive, when the Packers tried to futilely stop the Lions from killing the clock. Having the team's leading tackler on the field when you desperately need a stop seems like it could've helped get that stop.

Walker, to his credit, apologized afterward.

[firefly_poll]

"I reacted off of my emotions again and take full responsibility of making another stupid decision," he said Monday morning on Twitter. "Since then I’ve questioned myself on why did I do what I did when the trainer was doing his job!! I was wrong!!"

The rookie also explained his "frustration in the tunnel," referencing video showing him emotional and crying as he was leaving the field for being disqualified. "I wasn’t upset about being kicked out, I just knew I messed up again and was wrong for what I did," he said.

Condemnation for Walker came swiftly, particularly given that health scare the aforementioned Hamlin suffered less than a week ago. Impeding a trainer's ability to check on an injured player in the wake of that incident was, at the very least, very poor decision-making.

There is one last interesting piece of this puzzle: While two incidents certainly don't make something a "pattern," it is the beginning of one, and this was Walker's second ejection this year, and the first came in very similar circumstances.

In October, he was tossed during the Packers' 27-17 loss to Buffalo for shoving a Bills coach.

While no formal punishment had been announced for Walker as of Monday afternoon, any suspension would likely impact his sophomore season, since the Packers will be watching this year's playoffs from the comfort of their couches.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Bryan Chai, The Western Journal

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