We already know that football is a dangerous sport for its players, so we don't need to make it unsafe for the crowd of fans in the stands.
The NFL and the NFL Players Association work together to assemble an on-field code of conduct for players and establish a safe environment in the arena for everyone. Thus, the organization has a catalog of strict violations and fines.
The league wants its players to respect and honor the game, and in order to do that, athletes must display proper sportsmanship and protect each other and their fans from avoidable risks.
Occasionally, players break these rules and endanger thousands of people by, say, chucking a football into the crowd. Does the NFL consider this a breach of conduct? If so, how much does the league fine players who give away a ball?
How much does the NFL fine players for giving away a ball?
If a player picks out a fan in the crowd and directly hands them a football, they avoid a fine. However, if the athlete hurls the ball into stands crammed with spectators, they will receive a fine from the league.
The NFL Football Operations labels the "Football Into Stands" violation as part of the sportsmanship category and declares that a first offense costs an athlete $7,210. If it happens again, the second offense requires the player to pay $12,360.
Players commonly learn of their actions through a letter informing them of what they did wrong. Also, according to NFL Football Operations, "a video of the play in question, why they are being fined, and how much it will cost them" is also sent to the athlete.
Though this offense isn't as serious as making physical contact with a game official or fighting another player, it's still dangerous for the crowd. A player could cause a severe injury to an unsuspecting person or group of people by spontaneously chucking a football into the stands.
Mike Evans gave away Tom Brady's 600th TD ball.
During the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Week 7 match-up against the Chicago Bears, renowned quarterback Tom Brady threw his 600th career touchdown pass. He reached the milestone in the first quarter as he threw the ball to wide receiver Mike Evans for a 9-yard touchdown.
Usually, the footballs from monumental moments like this one are preserved for the player who throws it. However, Mike Evans gave the ball away to a fan in the crowd, leading the Buccaneers to scramble to get Tom Brady's football.
CBS Sports reported that after Mike Evans returned to the sidelines, the team asked him what he did with Tom Brady's football. Once he realized his mistake, he exclaimed, "Oooooh, I gave the ball away!"
It was a nice gesture of him to give the football away to a jersey-wearing fan, 29-year-old Byron Kennedy, but Tom Brady's 600th career touchdown ball? Yeah, that's a huge mistake.
Thankfully, everything worked itself out in the end. A member of the Buccaneers staff approached the fan and let him know that Tom Brady wanted the ball, so they reached an agreement. According to CBS Sports, Byron "gave the ball back, but he received another ball and will receive some signed memorabilia from the team in exchange."
Mike Evans won't face a fine from the league, but he'll definitely have to deal with loads of taunting from his teammates.