NFL fines Chargers $20,000 in sticky-towel case

No word on whether Chargers tight end Antonio Gates used a sticky towel on his gloves before this pass play led to a touchdown against the Broncos last month.
(Harry How / Getty Images)

While the San Diego Chargers were fined $20,000 by the NFL on Wednesday in the sticky-towel case, it wasn’t for violating any rules. The NFL fined the Chargers for a lack of cooperation with game officials.

A three-week investigation by the league discovered that several teams use towels that contain a type of adhesive that helps repel water and improve grip. The NFL said that use of the towels is to be stopped for the remainder of the season.

Early reports that the Chargers were using a banned substance called Stickum in a game against the Denver Broncos on Oct. 15 were found to be incorrect.


The NFL released a statement Wednesday that in part read:

“NFL game officials are charged with protecting the integrity and competitive fairness of the games. Club staff members, like players and coaches, have a clear obligation to cooperate in this effort and comply with the direction of game officials. As a result of the failure of club staff to follow the directive of a game official to immediately surrender the towels when directed to do so, and to attempt to conceal the towels, the Chargers have been fined $20,000.”

The Chargers plan to appeal the fine. No staff members have been disciplined in the case.


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