Confusion abound in the 2nd quarter of the Alabama game yesterday when Junior safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was ejected from the game for “Targeting”. Some of you may have read the blog by Nichole when this happened during the first game of the season for Oregon. It seems everyone was scratching their heads and wondering what was going on? However, the Alabama penalty was an even bigger head scratcher because the ejection was OVER-TURNED by officials, but the 15 yard penalty remained.
How can that be?
Clearly, watching the play, it was an accidental collision; they were both running full speed and the hit, in doing so, their helmets met. That automatically called for the targeting penalty flag to be thrown. One part of the rule states that no player should “initiate contact” with the crown of his helmet. I believe we all knew it was not intentional. However, another section of the rule states that no player should target and “initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder. When in question, it is a foul.” So I believe they called this penalty based on that wording.
The bigger question remained, how did the 15 yard penalty remain but the ejection got overturned?
The rule goes on to say that the replay official “must have conclusive evidence that a player should not be ejected to overturn the call on the field”. This is where I believe the official put this part of the rule in to play, because he knew it was an accident, therefore he overturned the ejection.
To many Alabama fan’s relief, Ha Ha was allowed to continue playing and remained in for the rest of the game.