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49ers-Giants: Trent Williams calls punch of A’Shawn Robinson a ‘love tap’; Official explains why Williams wasn’t ejected

Sep 21, 2023 at 10:13 PM


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Those who watched Thursday night's game between the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants may want to know why no ejections took place after 49ers left tackle Trent Williams punched the face mask of Giants defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson as the first half came to a close.

NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Walt Anderson gave an explanation behind that decision after the game, while Williams played his punch off as a "love tap."

The incident took place towards the end of the first half of the 49ers' 30-12 win over the Giants, following a play where the 49ers downed the ball. Robinson can be seen giving Williams a poke in the chin, after which Williams swung and hit Robinson in the face mask.



Anderson provided his explanation for not ejecting Williams to 49ers beat reporter and Pro Football Writers of America pool reporter Matt Barrows, saying officials couldn't determine for sure from the camera angles they saw if Williams used a closed fist.

"When we have a flag thrown on the field for unnecessary roughness, members of the officiating department are able to review available video, Rule 19, to determine if there is a flagrant action that should result in a disqualification," Anderson said. "We ended up looking at the video we had available to us, and we just didn't see anything that rose to the level of flagrant, which is the standard that we have to apply to disqualify the player."

Anderson added, "These are judgment calls and a lot of times you might end up having an open hand, often a stiff arm to the face, versus a closed fist punch, which certainly carries a different weight to it. So, we ended up looking at the available video we had and just didn't feel like the actions rose to the level of flagrant. You can certainly end up having contact with hands to the helmet, and some of those actions would be deemed a punch, others would not."

Barrows later tweeted that Williams doesn't expect to get fined for what happened.

"I don't think so," Williams said. "It was a love tap. It wasn't that hard."

Robinson apparently wasn't interested in saying much when asked about the incident.


95.7 The Game tweeted video Thursday night that showed Williams and Robinson continuing to have words after the third quarter. NFL writer Jordan Schultz reported that Williams and Robinson have a history that dates back to when Robinson played for the Los Angeles Rams from 2020 to 2022.

"Just got a text that A'Shawn Robinson and Trent Williams have had beef ever since Robinson was in LA," Schultz wrote. "There's not much love between them."

Williams will find out for sure in the days to come whether or not the NFL agrees with his stance over whether or not he should be fined.

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