Losing a week of summer OTAs is merely a slap on the wrist if you ask me.
The Ravens, on the other hand, consider it a legitimate penalty.
Either way, the NFL today canceled the Ravens final week of OTAs (Organized Team Activities) due to a finding that the club engaged in recent OTA days that were both excessive in length and intensity. That means next week’s Ravens OTA sessions (June 14-18) will not be held.
A NFL source told me on Monday afternoon the Players Association learned of the violations by accident when a Ravens player was discussing his rights to off-season treatments and alerted the P.A. to strenuous workouts during the team’s OTAs.
It was all done innocently, according to the source, but once the Players Association gained knowledge of a possible violation, they moved forward with their formal complaint “to protect all of the players in Baltimore.”
In this case, honestly, it’s not really that important which player or players was ultimately responsible for having the complaint brought forward if, in fact, the dispute was initiated inadvertently. After all, if the Ravens DID violate the league’s standards and by-laws, they SHOULD be held accountable for that. We’d expect the same thing if the Steelers or Bengals or Browns or any other team in the league was circumventing the rules.
So it’s not that shocking that a player, discussing his situation with someone in the Players Association, could have unknowingly spilled the beans on his team by revealing a workout schedule that didn’t fit with the limits outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
I’d be more alarmed – as would John Harbaugh and the Ravens, I assume – if there was some kind of irrefutable trail to a player or players and they openly laid claim to filing a complaint against the organization. It might be hard for Harbaugh and his staff to look at the player as one of their own if someone within the family blew the whistle on the club without at least first confiding with the coach and/or Ozzie Newsome.
The NFL source maintains with absolute certainty the initial report of a violation was from one player who did it in a completely innocent manner.
“A comment was made about an injury and some potential second opinions and follow-up treatment and the question was then raised about the nature of the injury and a timetable was evident that showed a potential violation,” the source says.
“It was definitely not some sort of discreet, coded phone call or e-mail where a player confided in the Players Association and asked for a full investigation or anything of that nature.” The source concluded, “In fact, more times than not that’s how discoveries like this one are made…someone makes what they think is an innocuous or innocent comment and it leads to a brief review and a determination on whether or not the team is violating the off-season code of workouts and activities.”
The source would not reveal the name of the player, other than to say, “It was innocent. There’s no need for the club or the player to have a falling out over this. The Ravens were wrong, admitted their mistake and will pay the appropriate penalty. It ends well for the players, which is what concerns the Players Association the most.”