Pittsburgh Steelers rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster has been condemned by NFL fans for a heartless reaction to an opponent's serious injury.
Smith-Schuster targeted Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict with a vicious helmet-to-helmet block that left the Bengals star on the ground and later in the hospital.
Burfict has done a lot of bad things on the football field. He has been accused of intentionally trying to injure players, including some Steelers players. He's not popular in Pittsburgh.
However, that doesn't justify what Smith-Schuster did on Monday night.
Seeing an opportunity to take a free shot at Burfict, Smith-Schuster stuck his helmet into Burfict’s jaw on a block, then stood over Burfict when he was down and taunted the clearly injured man.
The incident sparked angry reaction from fans on social media.
Smith-Schuster was called for unnecessary roughness and taunting, though he wasn’t kicked out of the game.
Given how the NFL is trying to rid itself of dirty hits, Smith-Schuster's hit will be reviewed closely by the NFL. It wouldn't be a surprise if he's suspended.
Burfict was put on a backboard and carted off the field. The Bengals said later he was being evaluated for a head injury.
Given that Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier left the stadium in the same manner on a scary injury earlier in the game when he was attempting a tackle, it seemed even more tasteless for Smith-Schuster stand over Burfict and taunt him.
Smith-Schuster has become a popular player in Pittsburgh due to his fun personality. Burfict is one of the NFL’s villains, an oft-punished player due to dirty hits. On Monday, Smith-Schuster was the one in the wrong.
For the record, the Steelers won a thrilling clash 23-20.
With Yahoo US