Justin Jefferson Mad at NFL over Dumb Tweet

Thing at Stake for
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The NFL got duped. Either that — or it just twisted the knife.

While the Detroit Lions were beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday en route to their second-ever NFC Championship, one fan held up a callous sign, hyping the Lions while uplifting the team’s acumen for injuring players.

Justin Jefferson Mad at NFL over Dumb Tweet

Then, the NFL used a picture of the fan’s sign on its main social media pages.

Here’s the tweet:

The post caught Justin Jefferson’s attention, and unsurprisingly, he wasn’t impressed. Jefferson retweeted the NFL’s photo and wrote, “Yall wild for posting this👎🏾This ain’t cool!!”

Jefferson Mad
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The fan’s posterboard, complete with check marks next to the Vikings and Rams, applauded opponents’ injuries, mainly to T.J. Hockenson last month and Rams tight end Tyler Higbee last week. “KNEECAP” on the sign conveniently accompanied Minnesota and Los Angeles logos, the two teams beset by ACL tears to tight ends. The fan didn’t create the sign by accident.

Of course, the Lions fan has no sense of guilt. So long as the sign wasn’t outwardly profane or obscene, the person can bring any sign of their choosing to a game. Yet, this one championed “kneecap” hits to Hockenson and Higbee, and the NFL posted it anyway.

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The NFL employee who pressed POST on the X app likely didn’t correlate the checkmarks next to the Vikings and Rams logos to Hockenson and Higbee, but by the time the tweet was in front of the masses, the damage had been done. The NFL, by implication, seemed to condone the hits by Lions safety Kerby Joseph that injured Hockenson and Higbee.

For context, here was the play on Higbee:

And the Hockenson injury from December 24th:

Joseph actually targets players’ vulnerable areas or is just really unlucky. You do the math. No other NFL player in 2023 has such a knee-wrecking reputation. Only Joseph. He said about his style of play in 2022, “You want the ball, you got a pay a price, you feel me? Ain’t nothing free out here, especially if you come to me. Just gotta keep making plays.”

Detroit Lions safety Kerby Joseph high-fives teammates during warmups before the game vs. the Carolina Panthers at Ford Field on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023.

The 23-year-old entered the NFL in 2022 as a 3rd-round Pick and has played 35 games since. This season, he ranked as the league’s 14th-worst safety per Pro Football Focus, tabulating a 56.5 grade, or 86th of 99 qualifying players at his position. So, a bottom-14 NFL safety.

Last week, Lions head coach Dan Campbell defended his players’ tackling technique, “That’s how we play football here; just keep your head up, see what you hit.”

3 Vikings Developments
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The NFL did not respond to the Jefferson retweet, and the post remained up at the time of this article’s publication.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.