The NFL fined Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman $7,875 for his end-of-game “choking” gesture directed at 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in last Sunday’s NFC Championship Game in Seattle, the league announced Friday.
The gesture followed the game-clinching interception in the end zone by Seattle’s Malcolm Smith. The linebacker was trailing the critical play in which Sherman tipped Kaepernick’s pass intended for 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
Immediately after the play, Sherman ran toward Crabtree, gave him a pat on the backside and then extended his hand for a handshake. The mic he was wearing provided by NFL Films recorded Sherman saying to Crabtree: “Helluva game, helluva game.” Crabtree responded by shoving the cornerback in the face mask. At that point, Sherman put both hands around his throat, a gesture that he later said was directed toward Kaepernick.
Sherman noted that Kaepernick and the 49ers hadn’t challenged him for most of the game, and his post-game rant suggested he was insulted that the 49ers would attack him at the game’s most critical moment.
“I really appreciate that, Kap,” Sherman said afterward. “You try me like that. I hadn’t gotten many opportunities all game. I’m happy. I’m happy about that.”
No other players were fined, including 49ers safety Donte Whitner and 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers, both of whom were penalized for unnecessary roughness. Seahawks special-teams player Chris Maragos was not fined for hitting punter Andy Lee. Maragos was penalized, but only for running into the kicker, a 5-yard foul. Maragos hit Lee’s plant leg, which typically is a 15-yard roughing-the-kicker penalty.
The league has not made a determination on the sideline incident in which Seahawks special-teams player Jeremy Lane was knocked to the ground after making contact with a staffer on the 49ers’ sideline.