Five-year-old Erik Walden Jr. was napping by the second quarter Sunday, when his father got ejected for bumping an official in the Indianapolis Colts’ 27-0 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at Lucas Oil Stadium.
When fans sitting around Walden’s children asked what happened to the outside linebacker, his 3-year-old daughter, Kylie, offered a quick explanation.
“Daddy is just going to timeout,” she said of the common child punishment.
Walden was amused when told Kylie's comment after the game. But he obviously didn’t care for a Wednesday letter from the NFL to inform the Colts defender of a mandated $27,562 fine. Walden showed the letter to reporters, called it “nonsense” and added, “Thanks Roger,” in reference to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Walden was involved in a verbal altercation with Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham when head linesman Bruce Stritesky interceded between the two players. In the heat of the moment, Walden swiped at an arm on him to push it away — the arm belonging to Stritesky.
The linebacker said he didn’t intend to touch the official and will appeal the fine.
“It’s all good, man,” Walden said. “We ain’t letting nothing waver what we’ve got going on. We’re playing too good a football. This ain’t nothing. This ain’t nothing at all. So we’re moving forward.”
The Colts (5-2) have a five-game winning streak entering Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh. Walden has tied a career high with three sacks.
He reiterated he was reacting to Gresham saying something to him.
“Dude, it was a reaction,” he said. “You step around, talk noise back and all of a sudden I see (Stritesky) fumbling for the flag and he throws the flag. The next thing you know, I’m getting tossed out of the game.
“(Gresham) was stepping around talking to me through the ref, and so (I’m like) ‘What you saying?’ I guess the referee felt threatened by it or whatever you want to call it and he threw his flag and called an ejection.”
Walden showed the NFL letter again.
“Tell Roger I appreciate it,” he said. “I sure appreciate it. It’s just like, taking my money, tell him I appreciate it. I ain’t got kids or nothing. Tell him I appreciate it.”
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.