The Carolina Panthers are 5-9 and the Indianapolis Colts are 6-8, so there isn’t much on the line for the outcome of their Week 16 game on Sunday. However, that doesn’t mean emotions can’t run wild and even get the better of some players.
The Colts led 21-3 just two minutes into the second half when Panthers defensive end Vernon Butler was tussling with Colts offensive lineman Mark Glowinski. The two fell over into Colts wide receiver Jack Doyle at the end of a play. Fired up, and perhaps confused, Butler got up and immediately punched Doyle in the head before stepping over him.
— Will Kunkel (@WillKunkelFOX46) December 22, 2019
Butler immediately drew a flag and then, to no one’s surprise, ejection from the game. Unbowed, Butler then took his frustrations out on the crowd, giving someone a middle finger on his way off the field.
— René Bugner (@RNBWCV) December 22, 2019
Vernon Butler missed practice all week with an illness and just was ejected from the game for throwing a punch. Long, long walk to the locker room for him and he clapped toward some fans who were booing him on the way out. He also gave them the finger.
— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) December 22, 2019
Butler was already potentially on his way out of town but it seems hard to consider a good reason to keep him on the roster after this. The 2016 first-round pick has been mostly a bust for the Panthers, though he did come through for six sacks on the season. But has he done enough on the field to warrant sticking by him after doing something like this? That might be a bit too much to get past.
It’s been a tough season for Doyle and head safety. Earlier this season, he took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict, for which Burfict was suspended for the year. Now he gets punched in the head for no real reason. At least he had his helmet on.