Mike Tomlin fined $100K for sideline antics, says he accepts fine and won’t discuss issue any further
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has been fined $100,000 by the NFL for his interference on Baltimore Ravens’ Jacoby Jones kickoff return on Thanksgiving.
During the third quarter of the game, Tomlin appeared to venture out into the field of play during Jones’ return. Jones was forced to swerve to avoid running into the Steelers coach and was ultimately tackled after a 78-yard return.
Tomlin apologized for what occurred on Tuesday, while not admitting fault, saying, “I will take this unfortunate incident — this blunder on my part — and in doing so, I will honor to stand up and champion our game, and in particular, the National Football League, and the integrity of that,” adding, “It’s all that I have professionally. It’s been very good to me in my life, and to be honest with you, quite frankly, the winning of any game is not important enough for me to jeopardize that,” according to a Washington Post report.
Referring to his antics as “embarrassing, inexcusable, illegal,” Tomlin said he would “take [his] medicine” from the NFL, before adding:
“As head coaches, we’re held to higher standards of conduct, and that blunder fell woefully short and in that vein I accept … the repercussions of a blunder of that nature,” Tomlin said. “I embrace it. With my position comes preserving the integrity of the game of football.”
Whether deliberate or accidental, Tomlin’s interference was in violation of Rule 13, Section 1, Article 4 of the NFL Rule Book, as he “was in the restricted white border that surrounds the playing field and stepped foot onto the playing field during the play.”
And as a result, the bell tolled for Tomlin on Wednesday, as the $100,000 fine was handed down. According to the New York Daily News, the NFL’s statement on the issue read that “because the conduct affected a play on the field, a modification or forfeiture of draft choices will be considered after the final order of the 2014 draft has been determined.”
The Daily News further reports that the league’s punishment was handed down by Ray Anderson, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations and that the NFL stated that Tomlin should have been flagged for a 15-yard penalty on the play.
Tomlin was contrite in his statement reacting to the fine, saying he accepted it. He also was abundantly clear about how he plans to move forward from the incident (via Pro Football Talk):
“As I stated yesterday, I take full responsibility for my actions, and I apologize for causing negative attention to the Pittsburgh Steelers organization. I accept the penalty that I received. I will no longer address this issue as I am preparing for an important game this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins,” Tomlin said.
So, that just about wraps it all up. The NFL maintained the integrity of the game — and it could be argued that Tomlin maintained his integrity as well, to a certain extent. So, as long as no media member asks Tomlin about the incident or the fine from this point forward — something that will of course play out just as Tomlin hopes it will — everything is hunky-dory … well, except for the entire “modification or forfeiture of draft choices” part of the punishment.
But, as far as Tomlin stating that he won’t discuss the issue any further, the media always happily acquiesces to the demands of who they cover as it relates to what is on or off limits, right? Right.