Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers fined for faking injury

In Week 7 against the Bengals, Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders feigned a leg cramp, going down at a convenient time in a Sunday Night Football game Pittsburgh would win 24-17.

Now both he and the organization are paying for it.

On Friday, the NFL announced that Sanders has been fined $15,000 and the Steelers have been docked $35,000 for the fake injury.

“Despite the account given by Sanders during our November 2nd meeting, neither the video sequence of the pertinent plays nor the observations of the on-field official support Sanders’s contention that he was in severe pain, either before, while falling to the ground, lying on the ground, or when he was being assisted in leaving the field,” NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson said in a letter to the Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and Sanders.

“Moreover, after missing the one play that is mandatory pursuant to the playing rules, and receiving no apparent treatment, Sanders returned to the game for a fourth down punt, on which he out sprinted all of his teammates 26 yards down the field, arriving at the ball ahead of all other Pittsburgh players, and then downing the ball.

“The video of the play shows Sanders running swiftly and effortlessly toward the punted ball, and then leaving the field with no sign of discomfort. Sanders also played the rest of the game without difficulty. Finally, there is no indication that Sanders has had prior cramping issues while in the NFL, and no Steelers’ medical records or information of any kind were presented that would support a finding that he incurred a cramp that was both as serious and as transient as Sanders suggests.”

Anderson concluded that he had no evidence Sanders was instructed by the Steelers coaches to fake the injury. If that had been the case, the fine would have been “substantially more.”

Hopefully, this helps put an end to what has become a popular tactic in recent years. The NBA has it right, instituting — and enforcing — an anti-flopping rule. There’s no room for such a move in Pop Warner, nevermind billion dollar entities like the NFL.

(Photo: Greg Bartram, US Presswire)

Zack Kelberman
An award-winning sportswriter, reporter and blogger, Zack currently serves as the Miami Dolphins live correspondent and Team Stream curator for Bleacher Report. He's also a freelance NFL writer and the founder/editor-in-chief of Helmet2Helmet. His work has appeared on media outlets such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, MSN.com, FanSided.com, and About.com. Zack can be reached on Twitter (@ZackKelberman) or via email (zpkelb@gmail.com).