NY Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner was called for a controversial holding penalty in the fourth quarter of the team's 23-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football last night.
As expected, Gardner was asked about the, to be blunt, egregious penalty when speaking to reporters after the game. The reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year was honest with his assessment and, quite frankly, at a loss for words.
"I don't even know what to say," a clearly perplexed and defeated Gardner told reporters. Gardner said that his "hold" was the same thing that had been happening all game, yet no flag was thrown until that play.
In fact, as Gardner points out, referee Frank Steratore didn't throw the flag until after cornerback Michael Carter II secured the interception. The hold supposedly occurred before the pass was even thrown, yet Steratore didn't call the penalty until well after that.
Gardner had a perfect analogy when describing the blatant mistake by the referee.
"That's like when you play basketball 1-on-1, you go to lay the ball up, you wait to see if you miss, and then [call a] foul. I can't believe that. That was just crazy."- Sauce Gardner
Sauce Gardner and the NY Jets had a win stolen from them on SNF
Gardner likened the absurdly late call to a game of pick-up basketball where a player calls for a foul only after they missed a shot. That's pretty much what seemed to happen last night.
Steratore waited to throw the flag until after Carter secured the interception. The supposed penalty happened seconds earlier when the ball was still in Patrick Mahomes' hands.
What happened on Sunday night shouldn't be allowed. It should result in significant repercussions for a referee in his first year with the NFL. Of course, it won't, though. The NFL will likely issue an apology to the Jets, much like they did following their Week 2 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
That won't change the outcome of the game, however. Gardner is aware of that, and he's just as perplexed by the call as every football fan who watched that game is.
It's an embarrassment for the league, and it's downright shameful how often stuff like this happens. Players face repercussions in the form of penalties and fines for mistakes they make every week. Why are referees exempt from discipline? What makes them special?
Sauce Gardner and the Jets have every right to be upset after they were, quite frankly, screwed out of a potential win on Sunday night. Jets fans should be livid.