Hitting someone helmet-to-helmet will elicit a 15-yard penalty and a fine in the NFL, but spitting on someone should warrant the same kind of severe punishment, according to Pittsburgh Steeler lineman Ramon Foster.
On Monday, Foster claimed multiple Cincinnati Bengals players spit on Steelers players during the Steelers 18-16 victory over the Bengals on Saturday night. Foster added his revelation to the prior claim from Steelers lineman David DeCastro that Vontaze Burfict had spit on him. Foster stated:
He wasn’t the only guy. I will say that he had another culprit out there with him … It’s uncommon. And I think it’s a huge deal. Spitting on somebody is a huge offense. You take that as a sign of major disrespect. I don’t care what venue you’re in — basketball, football, hockey, or you’re at your neighborhood bar — spitting on somebody is unacceptable.
On Monday, Burfict was suspended for the first three games of the 2016 season for “repeated violations of player safety rules,” including his concussion-causing hit on Antonio Brown. Burfict had already been fined $69,454 on December 18 for a low hit on Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and two other infractions in the Steelers 33-20 victory in Week 14.
Spitting on opposing players has occurred before in the NFL; in 1997, Broncos linebacker Bill Romanowski spit in the face of 49ers wide receiver J.J. Stokes after a pileup in which Stokes said Romanowski pulled on Stokes’ groin. In 2006, Terrell Owens of the Dallas Cowboys was fined $35,000 for spitting in the face of Atlanta cornerback DeAngelo Hall. In 2010, Philadelphia Eagles center Mike McGlynn said Redskins safety LaRon Landry spit on him twice during a November game.