Meriweather’s appeal was heard by former NFL coach Ted Cottrell, one of two appeals officers jointly appointed by the league and players’ union to resolve cases involving discipline for on-field matters. He cut the penalty in half. Meriweather will sit out the game Sunday in Denver.
His suspension is without pay, and he will lose $70,588 of his $1.2 million salary for this season.
Meriweather is eligible to play in the home game Nov. 3 against the San Diego Chargers. His original two-game suspension would have cost him $141,176.
The reduction of Meriweather’s penalty came at the end of a day in which fellow members of the Redskins’ secondary expressed support for him.
Cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson said they do not believe Meriweather, who was suspended Monday after being penalized twice Sunday for illegal hits on Chicago Bears receivers, is trying to hurt opposing players.
Hall and Wilson also fired back at Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall and tight end Martellus Bennett for public comments they made about Meriweather.
“I thought it was a little harsh,” Hall said earlier Wednesday of Meriweather’s original two-game suspension. “I don’t like to throw any other players under the bus. But there’s definitely been some other players out there who have made some pretty outrageous hits and plays and haven’t been suspended.
“So he’ll appeal it and hopefully we can get him back.”
Said Wilson: “I understand safety. I get safety. I understand what the league is doing. I just don’t agree with players coming out and trying to regulate the game. Let’s play the game. I understand they want to make it a better league.
“But I don’t think Brandon is a bad guy, a dirty guy or anything like that. I feel like we grew up watching guys play football and that’s how we learned how to play football. And now we just have to adjust to what it is. It’s not that he’s trying to hurt anybody. It’s just a different way we have to play football these days.”
The league announced Monday it had suspended Meriweather for repeated violations of the sport’s player safety rules. Meriweather exercised his right under the sport’s collective bargaining agreement to an expedited appeal and a ruling before this weekend’s game.
Safeties Ed Reed, then with the Baltimore Ravens, and Dashon Goldson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had one-game suspensions reduced to fines via appeals over the past two seasons.
Reed had his suspension reduced to a $50,000 fine last season, and Goldson was given a $100,000 fine instead of a suspension earlier this season.
Meriweather was penalized Sunday for hits on Bears wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Marshall. Meriweather was fined $42,000 by the league earlier this season for a hit on Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy.
Marshall said after Sunday’s game that Meriweather “needs to get suspended or taken out of the game completely.” Bennett said during a radio interview Monday, “I still want to punch him in the face.”
Hall said Wednesday of the Bears’ public comments: “That’s just something you don’t do. At the end of the day, nobody is out there trying to purposely hurt somebody else. Brandon Marshall and Brandon Meriweather grew up together. They’ve got a relationship beyond football. So I’m pretty sure B. Marsh, if he had to think about what he said, he probably wouldn’t have said [it] that way.
“And Martellus, I don’t know him personally, but he had a chance to say whatever he wanted to during the game, after the game, and the kid didn’t open his mouth. So no respect for a guy who wants to take a shot after the fact. If you want to take a shot, take a shot when you’re right there. No respect for a guy like that.”
Wilson and Hall defended Meriweather’s play.
“He’s out there playing football,” Wilson said. “The one with Jeffery — believe me, I had a front-row view. Jeffery has got his feet down, looked right at him and he hit him in the chest. I can’t say that’s a guy trying to be a bad guy. The one with Marshall, I’m again right there. Marshall ducks down. It’s hard to readjust. As a defensive player, when you’ve already decided that you’re gonna try to dislodge the ball through hitting the guy as hard as you can because that’s what we’re paid to do, when a guy ducks down, it’s hard to readjust. I can’t say that Brandon was trying to hurt anybody on any of these plays.
“That’s the league we live in right now. And we’ve got to understand that. You’ve just got to adjust. I feel like [Meriweather] is. He’s trying to be a better player, not doing the things he did in the past. But sometimes it’s hard to lose that reputation that he had.”