Ejection (sports)

Ejection (sports)

In sports, an ejection (or dismissal or sending-off) is a disqualifying action assessed to a player or coach by a game official (such as a referee or umpire), usually for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Many ejections occur for such actions as fighting (or attempting to instigate a fight) or persistent arguing with a game official. Usually, a warning is given to the offender before he/she is actually ejected.

When the offender is ejected, he/she must leave the immediate playing area; in most cases, this means going to the locker room or other part of the venue out of sight of the playing area, or leaving the stadium grounds. If a player or coach refuses to cooperate, additional sanctions may be levied (such as forfeiting a contest or being suspended).

Conditions for ejection by sport


In NBA and most other basketball games, a player or coach is ejected from the game if he accumulates two technical fouls of an unsportsmanlike nature over the course of the game. Participants who commit fouls of violence are ejected summarily regardless of the number of technical fouls accumulated. Ejected players/coaches must leave the court area for the remainder of play, and must do so immediately, or else risk even heavier fines/suspensions. In the NBA, an ejection will result in, at minimum, a $1,000 fine; an ejection for leaving the bench during a fight carries at least a one game suspension as well. In domestic games, refusing to leave after being ejected can result in a player being put on report. If being put on report does not provide enough encouragement for a player to leave the court, the official may award the game to the opposing team, regardless of score. Players who incur 16 technical fouls in a single NBA season are automatically suspended for one game; an additional ban is imposed for each increment of two thereafter.

A significant rule change was made in 1981 whereby the NBA eliminated the ejection of a coach for three technical fouls caused by an illegal defense. Also, in the NBA ejections are not permissible if a technical foul is caused by an excessive timeout, delay of game, or accidental departure from the coach's box.

Basketball also features disqualification, also known as fouling out. A player who commits a certain number of personal fouls in a game (5 or 6 in most leagues), is removed from the game and is said to have "fouled out". Unlike ejection, fouling out is not considered a punitive action--it is considered a "normal" part of the game. Players who foul out of a game are permitted to remain on the bench with the team (instead of being sent to the locker room, as with an ejected player); and are not subject to any further penalties (such as fines or suspensions).


In baseball, a player, coach or manager may be ejected from a game for unsportsmanlike conduct. The ejectable offense may be an excessively heated or offensive argument with an umpire, malicious game play (especially pitchers attempting to strike batters with the ball or a manager caught ordering his pitcher to do so), using banned substances (such as a corked bat or doctoring a ball), or fighting. A common understanding between players and umpires is that they are allowed a certain level of argument, but the player is never allowed to question an umpire's judgment of balls and strikes, or argue a balk without risking ejection. This is especially true for catchers who turn around and question the plate umpire regarding a ball/strike call.

In some cases, an ejection is followed by a fine or a suspension if the player, or manager or coach, reacts in a very hostile manner towards the umpire. Also, any ejection for malicious game play will normally result in a suspension.

Managers have been known to engage in raving arguments with umpires to provoke an ejection, in hopes of inspiring a rally from their team, also known as "firing up the team". Baseball has a rich vocabulary for describing ejections: a player or coach may be ejected, runned, thrown out, banned, given the ol' heave-ho, sent to the clubhouse, hit the showers, tossed, kicked out, sent off,(#) is gone, or booted.

American football

A player who makes intentional contact with an official (e.g. touching the official to get his attention) will be ejected, and along with the ejection of the offending player comes a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the offender's team.

Unnecessary roughness such as a very late hit may also result in an ejection, as will intentionally punching or kicking another player.

Association football (soccer)

In football, a player is dismissed from the field of play by the referee showing them a red card if they commit a dismissable offense or have committed a second cautionable (yellow card) offense having already received a yellow card in the same game.

A difference between being dismissed in football and the above mentioned sports is that in football a player may not be replaced, forcing his team to play a man down. Additionally, a dismissal in any professional league results in an automatic suspension of at least one match.

It is also possible for the Manager of a team to be 'sent off', which requires them to leave their dugout and recede to sitting in the stands away from the touch line. This usually requires another member of the coaching staff to make decisions for the team, such as substitutes and formation. Also, the manager cannot be on the bench or communicate with assistants during his/her team's next game.

Rugby football

In all codes of rugby, a player may be sent to the sin bin for a period. In rugby union and rugby league, the standard sending-off period is 10 minutes (out of an 80-minute game). This is generally indicated by a yellow card. In rugby union sevens, which normally lasts 14 minutes (sometimes 20), the sending-off period is 2 minutes. For more serious offences or a second yellow card infraction, a player may be sent off for the rest of the game, with no replacement allowable.


In cricket there is no provision in the rules for a player to be 'sent off'. The 'spirit of the game' is against behaviour reaching the point at which such action would be required. However, a player may be fined or suspended upon a post-game review of his conduct.

Additional penalties

In some instances, a player or coach who is ejected must serve a suspension. Often, this is one game for the first offense, with harsher penalties depending on subsequent ejections and the severity of the offense, or when they purposefully attempt to hurt another player, a coach or a referee.

Sometimes in professional sports, a fine may be sanctioned against a player or coach.


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