To paraphrase Paul Hogan, ‘That’s not a punch…’

Last night amidst the chaos of the volatile Pittsburgh v Oakland game, Raiders defensive lineman Richard Seymour (left, styling)) was ejected for ‘punching’ Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger.

What’s really interesting is how this is being reported across the online sporting media

First of all, what a completely stunning, misleading smoke screen. In last nights game the Steelers played one of the dirtiest 60 minutes in recent memory in the NFL.

Not the Raiders, the Steelers. Remember, this is the team whose player, James Harrison, said earlier this season he would be happy to injure people in the course of a game. Last night the Steelers committed 163 yards in penalties, including six personal fouls to break the club record of 154 yards set against Cincinnati in 1989. One of those included Harrison slamming Raiders QB Jason Campbell to the turf in an act that could have caused serious injury.

Harrison risks a player’s career (literally) and gets a penalty and no further rebuke, Seymour objects to a Steelers player taunting him after a score, and is ejected.

Having seen the incident, and having seen it again on video (probably now taken down by the video Nazis at NFL HQ), Seymour did not punch Roethlisberger. He shoved him out of his face, after Roethlisberger foolishly ‘got in his grill’ after the Steelers scored.

Check the screenshots out below, you can see Roethlisberger approach Seymour, who angrily shoves him away, only for Roethlisberger to fall to the ground as if a hidden sniper just took him out.

If you didn’t see the incident, and instead read what ESPN or any of the other big media outlets are describing this morning, you would think Seymour actually did ‘punch’ Roethlisberger. It couldn’t be clearer to the naked eye, he simply shoved him, pushed him, as Roethlisberger invaded his private space. Roethlisberger’s pathetic, LeBron James like NBA flop (anybody see LeBron flop to the floor pathetically trying to sell a blocking foul on Friday night? Legions of ‘diving’ soccer players would have been so proud) was a sad attempt to get Seymour in more trouble than he deserved.

Ask yourself this, if the roles had been reversed, how would this be being viewed this morning? Imagine Seymour scoring a fumble return touchdown, then turning and saying something to Roethlisberger (several Raiders players are reporting that the Steelers QB was verbally taunting Seymour), while getting ‘in his face’. Imagine Roethlisberger then shoved him out of his face.

Would ESPN and friends be reporting that Roethlisberger had punched Seymour? Or would ESPN be reporting that the Steelers QB was merely defending himself in the face of an inane taunt?

This isn’t a guiding, rhetorical statement, I am genuinely asking you, how do you think ESPN would have reported the incident, with a complete roll reversal? There is, after all, a shiny, blank comment section below this article, just waiting for your input.

Last word for now from the blog ‘Bay area bridge banter’, one of those taking a slightly different view to the incident.

Richard Seymour Does America A Favor And Punches Ben Roethlisberger