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Raheem Morris admits to calling players during lockout

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Washington Redskins Getty Images

On Sunday, Charley Casserly of CBS reported that the Buccaneers will be fined for having contact with players during the lockout.  We followed that up with a report that the issue arose from seven calls that were placed to players — three of which registered one minute or less.  Coach Raheem Morris called tight end Kellen Winslow after Winslow’s wife had a baby, and Morris called former Bucs linebacker Niko Koutovides.

On Monday, Morris addressed the situation during a press conference, admitting that he called Winslow.  Morris also said that he called cornerback Aqib Talib after he “went to jail,” which apparently is a reference to Talib’s arrest for aggravated assault.

Morris then thanked (with sarcasm) JoeBucsFan.com, a Buccaneers fan blog that reported on radio comments from Morris indicating that he had been in touch with the team’s players.

“Hey listen,” Morris said in early June, per JoeBucsFan.com.  “I talk to them all the time.  I talk to those guys all the time.”  On Monday, Morris indicated that the item from JoeBucsFan.com resulted in the NFL checking his phone records.  (Here’s our item on the topic from June 10.)

But it’s not fair to blame JoeBucsFan.com or anyone else.  JoeBucsFan.com didn’t violate the rules against lockout contact, Morris did.  More importantly, JoeBucsFan.com didn’t blab to the world via radio that the rules had been violated.  Morris did.

Though we realize that some teams believe that local media outlets shouldn’t say or do anything that could get the teams in trouble, the far better approach is for the teams to avoid saying or doing things that could get the teams in trouble.

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50 Responses to “Raheem Morris admits to calling players during lockout”
  1. canadianvikingfaniii says: Sep 12, 2011 3:04 PM

    I find it amusing how the NFL can check its employee’s phone records..

  2. gtorlone says: Sep 12, 2011 3:06 PM

    Apparently coaches can’t demonstrate how much they care about their players or offer advice and congratulations… Wait.. if they can’t do that, what do coaches actually do?

    Yes, I know this is lockout-related, but at some point you have to draw the line between business and being a good person.

  3. robertopicadillo says: Sep 12, 2011 3:06 PM

    raheem morris is a good coach, wish he was coaching the dolphins instead of mr. i love fgs sparano.

  4. oscojoe says: Sep 12, 2011 3:07 PM

    Well your next post you will be advising coaches like Belicheck to give sports reporters more info for us to O-Pine on.

  5. bigwhitey says: Sep 12, 2011 3:07 PM

    Well, it certainly gave him an edge VS. Detroit. Non story.

  6. marvsleezy says: Sep 12, 2011 3:08 PM

    Why wouldnt a head coach at the highest level of football know the rules of his own game??? This doesnt speak highly of the whole entire organization.

    He clearly didnt know that what he was doing was even wrong.

  7. americankris says: Sep 12, 2011 3:09 PM

    Snitches get put in ditches – Raheem Morris

  8. mightyleemoon says: Sep 12, 2011 3:11 PM

    Fining a team because a coach called his friend to congratulate him on his new born child…

    Unreal.

  9. cowboydipl0macy says: Sep 12, 2011 3:12 PM

    This whole situation, like the owner initiated lockout, is silly.

    As we saw during camp, preseason, and yesterday’s games, the lockout has certainly had an affect on conditioning and cohesion.

  10. freedomispopular says: Sep 12, 2011 3:13 PM

    PFT keeps pointing out that he “broke the rules” without pointing out how ridiculous it is that he should get fined for contacting them about personal, not football, matters.

  11. commanderroman says: Sep 12, 2011 3:13 PM

    are you advocating teams to quit talking to sources that may possibly turn around and post it on their site? Hmmm. Then the radio media or blog media would probably make things up so they could post. Agree that he broke the rules as written, but to call a player to congratulate him on the birth of his child, or to check on a player that may be going to jail. If these are the rules then the NFL should have a zero tolerance policy. No attending weddings, participating in funerals, not speaking to family members, zero, zilch contact.

  12. fancycash34 says: Sep 12, 2011 3:14 PM

    Dumb dumb dumb and I dont care! Lets just play football

  13. commanderroman says: Sep 12, 2011 3:15 PM

    oh and I seem to remember the commish have a conversation with OchoCinco during the lockout

  14. giselleisasucubus says: Sep 12, 2011 3:16 PM

    who cares? The lockout was the best thing for the owners(we’re back!!!, yet, they never left) how could they expect these guys to have zero contact? So dumb.

  15. profootballwalk says: Sep 12, 2011 3:17 PM

    “canadianvikingfaniii says: Sep 12, 2011 3:04 PM

    I find it amusing how the NFL can check its employee’s phone records..

    **********************************

    Said by someone who obviously never held a job that didn’t involve saying “Would you like fries with that?”

  16. tundey says: Sep 12, 2011 3:21 PM

    This is stupid. Getting fined for calls that lasted less than 1 minute is trifling. As if these teams didn’t use that small break in the lockout to get their players everything they needed.

  17. jpb12 says: Sep 12, 2011 3:22 PM

    This guy pretty clearly broke some serious rules. He’s getting a ‘pass’ because he’s a young guy… and he didn’t know any better.

    Shucks.

    Rex Ryan seems like he was pretty close to some of his players in Cali during the lockout too. He’s too smart to put his foot in his mouth like Rah Rah.

  18. schmitty2 says: Sep 12, 2011 3:22 PM

    The no contact rule was a joke. That a head coach can’t call a player to congratulate him on the birth of a child is pathetic

  19. to147 says: Sep 12, 2011 3:23 PM

    OK, so despite specific instructions from the NFL handed to every team publicly and privately Morris illegally communicated with his players potentially gaining a competitive advantage over teams that followed the rules. Will the bucs be fined $500k and stripped of their 1st round draft pick?

  20. halfie6 says: Sep 12, 2011 3:25 PM

    “Hey, Rahim, it’s Ronde’s brother. Please call me back. Please.”

  21. kevinwi says: Sep 12, 2011 3:26 PM

    I find it frightening that any employer can check phone records of an employee…unless the coach used a “company” issued cell.

  22. pigskinswag says: Sep 12, 2011 3:27 PM

    Pigskinswag admits to not giving a damn.

  23. Nikhil Balakumar says: Sep 12, 2011 3:28 PM

    thats BS, NFL needs to grow up and stop fining for illegitimate reasons

  24. hydenja says: Sep 12, 2011 3:28 PM

    Bucs continue to be a joke. Go Lions

  25. patpatriotagain says: Sep 12, 2011 3:30 PM

    raheem morris – not the sharpest cheddar in the fridge.

  26. icelovinbrotha215 says: Sep 12, 2011 3:30 PM

    The No Fun League strikes again.

  27. realitypolice says: Sep 12, 2011 3:31 PM

    God forbid a coach make a one minute phone call to a player following the birth of their child, or to check on the well being of a player whose gotten themselves into trouble.

    Of course, I can see the league’s point.

    The huge competitive advantage gained by the Bucs from these phone calls was clearly evident this past Sunday.

  28. mike83ri says: Sep 12, 2011 3:34 PM

    Didn’t the NFL say it was ok if they had contact as long as it wasn’t football related? These guys were at charity events together during the lockout, they were at Myra Kraft’s funeral before the lockout ended.

    If they can converse in memory after the death of a family member, why can’t they converse to congratulate the birth of a family member?

  29. cowboydipl0macy says: Sep 12, 2011 3:42 PM

    If the owners could have put their massive ego and greed aside, there never would have been a lockout, and this wouldn’t be an issue.

  30. AlanSaysYo says: Sep 12, 2011 3:51 PM

    Sean Payton is allowed to spend an afternoon during the lockout playing flag football with other teams’ players, but when Rahim Morris calls one of his own players for 45 seconds to say “congratulations on your newborn child,” that’s against the rules.

    This is why the commissioner having carte blanche on rule enforcement is so troubling.

  31. icelovinbrotha215 says: Sep 12, 2011 3:52 PM

    @hydenja, and this is coming from a Lions’ fan?

  32. techstar25 says: Sep 12, 2011 3:57 PM

    @to147 “Morris illegally communicated with his players potentially gaining a competitive advantage over teams that followed the rules. ”

    I’m not sure that “It’s a boy!” gained them a competitive advantage.

  33. shallowfan says: Sep 12, 2011 4:02 PM

    So it’s ok during the lockout for Goodell to talk to players at length…and for players to go on the NFL Network so the NFL can keep ratings up and make $$$, but a coach can’t talk to a player for under a minute without getting in trouble?

    I know there are rules but just because someone makes a rule doesn’t make it right.

  34. hatesycophants says: Sep 12, 2011 4:10 PM

    Bull. Crap.

    Go Lions! Go Badgers!

  35. seneca1ss says: Sep 12, 2011 4:14 PM

    I’m done with the website that SNITCHED on the Bucs
    WEASEL ALERT………

  36. to147 says: Sep 12, 2011 4:29 PM

    techstar25 (and others)- my earlier post sounds a bit harsh, but my larger point is that you’re right, it probably didn’t gain them much of an advantage and likely many teams had some level of infraction- just as the patriots videotaping defensive signals made openly/publicly during a game also didn’t gain them much of an advantage over just having a few guys transcribing it real time like most teams do. However, if you’re going to say BB/Pats cheated and nail them with those penalties based on the fact that the league specifically warned everyone, then this isn’t really that different.

  37. sportsdrenched.com says: Sep 12, 2011 4:30 PM

    Raheem Morris is a bad man. #sarcasm

  38. silkyjohnson937 says: Sep 12, 2011 4:42 PM

    So no players got any calls about myra kraft Lets dig into that too

  39. CKL says: Sep 12, 2011 4:53 PM

    mike83ri says: Sep 12, 2011 3:34 PM

    Didn’t the NFL say it was ok if they had contact as long as it wasn’t football related? These guys were at charity events together during the lockout, they were at Myra Kraft’s funeral before the lockout ended.

    If they can converse in memory after the death of a family member, why can’t they converse to congratulate the birth of a family member?
    _______________________________
    Yes, and JJ went to Romo’s wedding too. I think there was another coach or team official that did visit the home or hospital room of a player whose wife had recently had a baby also.But I think the distinction was it had to be approved/cleared with the league. Maybe Morris didn’t do that.

    Also on the phone records checking, I would imagine /hope they were calls made from phones at the team’s office. When I worked at an office we understood there was really no such thing as “personal communication” or “personal usage” from company equipment be it phone or computer. They certainly have the right to audit that but it should be disclosed ahead of time to the employees.

  40. to147 says: Sep 12, 2011 4:53 PM

    Well, nobody went on the radio and admitted to it like Raheem did. Again, I’m not saying it wasn’t widespread, but so was defensive signal stealing and all sorts of other similar stuff- as told by many current and former coaches. The reasons the Pats got penalized so much is there was definite proof following a definite warning- just like in this case. Do I think Raheem should be fired, of course not- but the NFL said unapproved contact was a fireable offense. (Also, I think the league approved communications regarding Myra Kraft’s passing, similar to Tony Romo’s wedding and other events during the lockout)

  41. jobotjones says: Sep 12, 2011 5:07 PM

    Michael Jordan just got fined 100k by the NBA for doing this…he should probably not be saying anything about this.

  42. favreforever says: Sep 12, 2011 5:07 PM

    Other than being stupid and whiny, Raheem Morris seems perfect.

  43. roybears says: Sep 12, 2011 5:12 PM

    49er coach Jim Harbaugh got NFL permission before visiting Alex Smith and his wife after the birth of their first child during the lockout.

  44. Deb says: Sep 12, 2011 6:23 PM

    canadianvikingfaniii says:

    I find it amusing how the NFL can check its employee’s phone records.
    ————————————————-
    I find it really creepy.

  45. dspohn55 says: Sep 12, 2011 6:33 PM

    How is this different than Mark Cuban hugging and presenting his Mavs players with an ESPY trophy during the NBA’s lockout?

    Stupid semantics..

  46. briang123 says: Sep 12, 2011 7:07 PM

    The real issue is the attitude left behind by the Bush Administration, that there is no privacy allowed to anyone, thanks to the illegal and unconstitutional “Patriot” Act. Of course, many have forgotten and choose to blame the black President for everything.

    Prior to Bush, the NFL and lawyer Goodell would not have had the guts to check on private phone records.

  47. 12is3times4 says: Sep 12, 2011 7:56 PM

    t0147 (and others): The NFL’s order prohibiting player-coach contact during the lockout isn’t even comparable to rules against spying on other teams and such. Those rules are meant to prevent undue competitive advantages. The no-contact rule was simply a means of enforcing the lockout.

  48. phreakin says: Sep 12, 2011 8:08 PM

    Hey briang123, Obama just signed an extension to the Patriot Act this year. Nice try though :)

  49. lugubriosoman says: Sep 12, 2011 10:36 PM

    Welcome to the Richard Nixon School of Ethics:
    “It’s not whether it’s right or wrong, it’s whether you get caught.”

  50. bucsfan420 says: Sep 12, 2011 11:36 PM

    Hey lions fan, Im glad you feel like you can open your cumcatchers now that you still haven’t won jack. Don’t forget, Tampa has won a Superbowl since you douches have had a winning season!!

    How many top three picks has Detroit had in the last ten years?? A LOT.

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