Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib and Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree each were suspended two games by the NFL on Monday for their roles in a scuffle that led to them being ejected from Sunday's game.
Talib and Crabtree will appeal their suspensions, sources informed of the situation told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. The bans are a result of violations of unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness rules during the game.
Talib and Crabtree were ejected in the first quarter of the Raiders' 21-14 win after getting into an on-field fight. Broncos cornerback Chris Harris said Crabtree sucker punched him the play before Talib and Crabtree got into their altercation. Both Talib and Crabtree were given unnecessary roughness penalties. Raiders guard Gabe Jackson also was ejected after making contact with an official during the incident.
For the second straight year, Talib and Crabtree got into an in-game altercation that involved the star defensive back pulling off Crabtree's gold necklace. Sunday's skirmish was much more heated than last year's, however, with the two engaging in a push-pull match that ended up knocking over at least a couple people standing on the sideline before they were swarmed by Broncos players. After being briefly separated, both players broke away from teammates and threw punches at one another while running around on the field.
In his letter to Crabtree notifying him of the suspension, NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan wrote:
"The series of flagrant violations for which you are being disciplined began with 12:31 remaining in the first quarter -- less than three minutes into the game. First, you punched a Broncos opponent Chris Harris in the midsection, resulting in him being removed from the game. Then, on the subsequent play, you blocked a different Broncos opponent (Aqib 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."
Talib said he wasn't trying to retaliate or defend Harris for what allegedly happened a play earlier.
"If you see the play, I didn't defend Chris," Talib said Monday. "He punched Chris, next play he came [and] punched me. So, I mean, so he was on whatever he was on."
In his letter to Talib, Runyan wrote:
"The series of flagrant violations for which you are being disciplined began less than three minutes into the game. First, while competing on the field of play, you deliberately ripped your opponent's chain from his neck just as you did last year when you played against him. 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. ... Such actions have no place in this game, engender ill will between teams, and lead to further confrontations."
Unless successfully appealed, Crabtree will miss games against the New York Giants and Kansas City Chiefs and Talib will miss games against the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets. Both will be eligible to return to their respective active rosters on Dec. 11.