Rob Gronkowski has been suspended for one game for his late hit on Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White on Sunday. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Gronkowski will appeal the suspension.
Late in the fourth quarter of Bills-Patriots, Tom Brady threw a pass intended for Gronkowski that was intercepted by White. Well after the play had ended, while White was lying on the ground, Gronkowski launched himself into White’s back and head.
What the hell are you doing, Gronk? pic.twitter.com/mZTgJA62eU— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) December 3, 2017
White sustained a concussion on the play, and Gronkowski was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness but was not ejected. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick apologized to Bills coach Sean McDermott after the game, though it’s unclear if the apology was for that play. Belichick said, “No, I understand. It was bullshit. I’m sorry. Yeah, I apologize.”
Bill Belichick apologizes to Sean McDermott for the Gronk hit that gave Tre' White a concussion. Called it bull%^&*. pic.twitter.com/qfkBB9bgid— Prescott Rossi (@PrescottRossi) December 3, 2017
In a postgame interview, Gronkowski apologized to White, saying: “I was just really frustrated at that moment. It just happened naturally through emotions and frustration. I just want to apologize to Tre’Davious White. I don’t really believe in the type of shots like that but just due to frustration process, game of football, emotions, just that’s what happened.”
On Monday afternoon, NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan issued the suspension, writing that Gronkowski “placed the opposing player at risk of serious injury.” The Patriots’ next game is on Monday Night Football against the Dolphins, who should be an easy opponent for New England to steamroll with or without its star tight end. Gronkowski, who stands to lose $281,250 from the suspension, has never been suspended before, but has been fined three times in this career, including once for unnecessary roughness.
Gronkowski is appealing the suspension, and his case will be heard by either Derrick Brooks or James Thrash, former NFL players and current appeals officers appointed by both the NFL and NFLPA.