In our various items regarding the question of whether Ravens fullback Le’Ron McClain did or didn’t spit in the face of Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder during Sunday’s game between their teams, we’ve opined that video of the incident contains strong circumstantial evidence of spitting, based on the movement of McClain’s body and the immediate reaction from Crowder.
The Ravens disagree with our assessment, and the team’s senior V.P. of public and community relations, Kevin Byrne, has contacted us with the franchise’s position on the situation.
“We think one of the things missed by those who believe that Le’Ron McClain spit on Channing Crowder based on the video you attached to your story, is the fact that the referee is right there — less than two feet away,” Byrne said in an e-mail to PFT. “In fact, the ref is stepping between the two players. Had Le’Ron spit, the ref would have penalized him, maybe even tossed him from the game. The ref has a firsthand view — and the best of anyone, independent of the two players.
It does appear that Le’Ron tried to butt facemasks/helmets with Crowder, but we don’t think you can deduce that he spit from this, or any other video.
“And, at the risk of sounding like the P.R. guy, spitting at an opponent would not be Le’Ron’s style. He’s one of the good guys — and I believe reporters who cover us regularly believe this about the former team captain at Alabama and two-time Pro Bowler.”
We still think that the video indicates spitting, especially since McClain sheepishly has conceded as to the incident, “I guess a lil spit got on him.”
That said, even if the video merits a fine, we believe that the appeal system will result in a reversal of the fine, just as it did when Chiefs defensive tackle Shaun Smith was fined $10,000 for grabbing packages other than those routinely delivered by UPS.