One of the best defensive players in the NFL, Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald’s career has been plagued with controversial incidents on the field. He once again made headlines on August 25, 2022, when he was caught on a video holding two Cincinnati Bengals helmets in his hands and swinging during a fight between the Rams and Bengals players during a joint training session.
He has made a Pro Bowl in every season with the Rams and also boasts of seven First-Team All-Pro nods, which has earned him widespread recognition. However, his antics on the field with opposition players and sometimes, league officials, have often seen him finding uncharted territory. Donald has been fined 11 times in his NFL career till now, worth $178,160, the last of which came in his team’s victory over the Cardinals. Let’s take a look at some of the controversies involving Aaron Donald in the NFL.
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Grabbing Quinton Patton’s neck
During the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers on September 12, 2016, Donald grabbed wide receiver Quinton Patton’s neck in the fourth quarter and shoved him away. A tussle ensued and following the incident, he was ejected after coming into physical contact with an official. He threw his helmet on the ground as he walked off the pitch amidst booing from the 49ers fans.
He was handed two fines subsequently, $9115 for unnecessary roughness and $12154 for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Shoving Matthew Stafford
Only a month after the incident against the 49ers, Donald made headlines once again when he charged and shoved former Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford when he took a knee during a formation on October 16, 2016.
He was fined $18231 for unsportsmanlike conduct by the NFL. Rams’ head coach at the time, Jeff Fischer also had to tender an apology to Lions’ Jim Caldwell.
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Throwing a flag at an official
Donald was handed two fines on December 15, 2016, when he was penalized for an excessive facemask in the fourth quarter of a match against the Seattle Seahawks. As a result, he took a flag and threw it toward the official, conceding yet another penalty.
His two fines were worth $24309 and $18231.
Grabbing Justin Britt by his facemask
Aaron Donald was subject to a late hit by Seahawks’ offensive lineman Justin Britt on October 7, 2018. Just after the hit, Donald got up and wrapped his hands around Britt’s shoulders and grabbed his facemask from behind.
After the conclusion of the match, Donald found Britt, who had already removed his jersey and shoulder pads, and grabbed him by the facemask once again. He was punished with a fine of $23395 by the NFL.
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Fighting New York Giants’ Nick Gates
The Rams’ defensive player was involved in a fight with the Giants’ Nick Gates on October 3, 2020, in week 4 of the NFL. The duo got into an altercation after the first downplay by the Giants and grabbed each other’s facemasks. Both Donald and Gates were penalized by the NFL for the incident.0
Choking Lucas Patrick
Donald was criticised throughout the country when he grabbed Green Bay Packers’ Lucas Patrick by his throat during a game on November 28, 2021, in the initial stages of the fourth quarter in week 12.
As Donald grabbed Patrick by his throat, the latter kept his arms up during the entirety of the altercation and signalled an official to take notice. However, the Rams star did not get a penalty during the game.
However, he was punished with a $10300 fine by the NFL for unsportsmanlike conduct after the game.
Choking Arizona Cardinals’ DJ Humphries
The All-Pro defensive lineman was caught on camera, choking Arizona Cardinals’ offensive lineman DJ Humphries during the second half of a playoff match. Donald grabbed Humphries’ facemask and ripped his helmet right after.
The Rams’ players attempted to keep the two apart but failed. The incident resulted in a penalty during the game before the NFL handed him a $10815 fine.
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Grabbing and swinging helmets in a brawl at Cincinnati Bengals players
The premier defensive player made headlines most recently on August 25, 2022, when he grabbed two Bengals’ helmets during a brawl with them and swung them at the opponent players. The Rams and the Bengals were at a joint practice session when the incident took place. It forced the head coaches of both teams to cancel the practice session.
Video footage and photos emerged on social media later, showing Donald holding two Bengals’ helmets in his hands and swinging them at the opposition players.