Do NFL Players Get Fined for Giving Away Footballs to Fans?

After several touchdowns this year, players have thrown the ball into the stands. Do they get fined for giving away footballs to the fans?

Lots of touchdowns have been scored so far this NFL season, and they aren’t done yet. After several touchdowns this year, players have thrown the ball into the stands.

Most recently, Michael Pittman Jr. launched a ball into the stands after a walk-off touchdown in overtime against the Tennessee Titans in Week 13.

With NFL players frequently throwing the ball into the stands, do they get fined for giving away footballs to the fans?

Are NFL Players Fined for Giving Away Footballs?

According to the NFL’s football operations website, throwing a football into the stands does incur a fine. However, just giving a ball to a fan is not. In Pittman’s case, he was fined, since he launched the ball into the stands.

The fine when throwing the football into the stands for first-time offenders is $7,649. For second offenders, the fine is $13,113. The penalty is classified as a sportsmanship fine.

Another example was in 2022, when former Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook was fined $7,426 for throwing the football into the stands after his game-winning 53-yard touchdown run in Miami.

The NFL uses a fine system to outline its expectations for players’ conduct during games. The conduct is supposed to honor the sport and respect the game. The NFL adds that the rules are intended to protect players from unnecessary risk, promote player safety, and emphasize sportsmanship.

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Following each week, the NFL Officiating Department reviews every play from every game and refers potential violations to the Football Operations compliance team. Every flagged play isn’t fined, and any play not flagged can be fined.

After receiving a fine, players can protest the ruling and appeal it with the NFL. When a fine is appealed, the case is assigned to one of the league’s current appeals officers, Derrick Brooks or James Thrash. The officer will then review the play, hear the case and defense, and then make a final decision.

All fines collected by the NFL are donated to the Professional Athletes Foundation, which supports legends in need, or the NFL Foundation, which supports the health, safety, and wellness of athletes across all levels.

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