Kareem Jackson of the Denver Broncos has been suspended for four games by the NFL after having been adjudged to have committed a number of unnecessary roughness violations, the latest of which occurred during the Broncos’ Week 7 win over the Green Bay Packers.
Jackson was ejected from Sunday’s game after making an illegal hit on Packers tight end Luke Musgrave.
Under NFL rules, it’s a “foul if a player forcibly hits the defenseless player’s head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder.”
Musgrave was deemed ‘defenseless’ during a fourth-quarter play in Sunday’s game, coming down with the ball after a catch before immediately turning into the path of Jackson, who lowered his helmet and connected with a heavy hit.
This was Jackson’s second ejection of the season – an end zone hit on Washington Commanders tight end Logan Thomas during Week 2 also saw him disqualified from the game. The Commanders later confirmed that Thomas had been ruled out of the game due to a concussion that resulted from the collision.
The NFL released a statement officially suspending Jackson for four games, with NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan, who issued the suspension, writing a letter to the Denver safety.
“On the play in question, you delivered a forceful blow to the head/neck area of a defenseless receiver, when you had the time and space to avoid such contact,” Runyan wrote. “You could have made contact with your opponent within the rules, yet you chose not to.”
Runyan also noted that Jackson’s previous infractions – for personal fouls this season in violation of player safety-related rules – were a factor in his suspension.
Despite the officials having little tolerance for Jackson’s actions, some have defended him and believe that the four-game ban is too harsh, including five-time All-Pro former cornerback Richard Sherman.
“This is starting to get out of hand! This is a clean hit and clearly he’s even trying to turn his body at the end to make sure it’s a shoulder hit,” Sherman posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“The body is led by your head so no matter what it will appear he’s leading with his head but STOP this narrative that these are somehow ‘dirty’ hits.”
Jackson is eligible to appeal the suspension under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, but he will miss his team’s next four matches against the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns if it is upheld.