Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib will appeal his two-game suspension after he was ejected for an altercation with Oakland Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree.
Despite Talib and Crabtree both leaving the game just three minutes into the first quarter, the NFL imposed further disciplinary action on both players, who are expected to appeal according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Broncos head coach Vance Joseph described the incident and the ensuing brawl as unacceptable before Talib, insisting he wasn’t the instigator, gave his side of the story to reporters in the locker room after the game.
In a letter to Talib, NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan made clear that the league was taking into account a previous incident with Crabtree last year.
“You deliberately ripped your opponent’s chain from his neck just as you did last year when you played against him,” Runyan said.
“Then, when the two of you went to the ground after a subsequent play, you aggressively removed his helmet and threw it in his direction, endangering him and various sideline personnel in the near vicinity. Finally, once you were momentarily separated from your opponent, you again engaged him and threw a punch.”
Acknowledging Crabtree’s role in the altercation, Runyan again pointed out the endangerment to officials and other personnel working on the sidelines, as well as concern for the image of the game.
“First, you punched a Broncos opponent Chris Harris in the midsection, resulting in him being removed from the game.” Runyan said.
“Then, on the subsequent play, you blocked a different Broncos opponent (Talib) into the sidelines beyond the yellow media border, well after the play was over.
“Your actions triggered a melee and endangered various sideline and league personnel, including one of our game officials who was injured trying to maintain control of the situation.
“Finally, during the ensuing altercation, you grabbed and twisted that same opponent’s facemask and threw a punch at him. Such actions have no place in this game, engender ill will between teams, and lead to further confrontations.”
Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio noted that the league chose not to suspend Cincinnati receiver AJ Green and Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey after they were involved in some extra-curriculars in their match up earlier in the season.
If Talib’s appeal fails, he will miss the Broncos trip to Miami this weekend and the week 14 game in Denver against the New York Jets before being eligible to return on December 11 ahead of the Broncos’ week 15 trip to Indianapolis for Thursday Night Football.