Tampering rules apparently should have prevented Raiders’ interview of Winston Moss

On Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Raiders interviewed Packers assistant head coach/inside linebackers coach Winston Moss the day before Green Bay’s division-round loss to the Giants.

If accurate, the interview conflicts with the plain terms of the league’s Anti-Tampering Policy.  From page 8 of the document, “For clubs that have byes in the Wild Card weekend, interviews of its coaches must be conducted prior to the conclusion of Wild Card games.”

The presence of the word “must” indicates that there’s no discretion or exceptions.  Since the Packers had a bye, any interview of any of its assistant coaches could have occurred no later than the Sunday, January 8.  According to Schefter, however, the Moss interview occurred six days later.

And for good reason, given that, as of January 8, the Raiders still had a head coach.

So how did the Raiders get around the Anti-Tampering Policy?  “The scheduling structure for interviews is intended to minimize the conflicts for the employer club while still providing a meaningful interview opportunity for the candidate,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT via email on Sunday.  “The rules impose a structure but don’t operate as a straitjacket.”

In other words, the league believes that teams like the Packers can choose to do a favor for a team like the Raiders (whose new G.M. had been employed by the Packers), notwithstanding rules that seem to prevent the Packers from allowing any team to interview any of its assistants after the conclusion of the wild-card round.  That’s fine, but if the league is going to allow teams to do things that the rules seem to prohibit, the league should revise the rule to remove words that, if applied as written, would indeed operate as a straitjacket.

18 responses to “Tampering rules apparently should have prevented Raiders’ interview of Winston Moss

  1. or perhaps they didn’t actually have an interview…. seeing as Winston Moss on that monday after the alleged interview said that he had not been contacted by the Raiders yet, and had not interviewed.

  2. As long as the current team is on board with it, I don’t see the problem. “Tampering” implies something underhanded. But if the Packers gave permission, then they obviously didn’t mind.

  3. I’m shocked, shocked to discover tampering going on in the NFL!

    The Packers should get the Raiders first round draft pick as compensation for this “tamper.”

    Oh — wait — the Raiders don’t have one.

    Darn!

  4. They only need to rewrite the rules if you are going to cry about it. By definition, this is not tampering, for that implies some obfuscation from one club to another, that did not happen here.

  5. Seriously when are people going to quit listening to Adam Schefter? ESPECIALLY when it concerns the Raiders.

  6. Well, that’s clear as mud.

    Maybe the league needs a complaint for tampering to apply. But if their intention with the use of the imperative “must” was to provide cover for teams that didn’t want to allow those interviews but didn’t want to be seen as bad employers, they ought to have a friendly chat with Mark Murphy about not undermining that cover in the future.

    It’s not a big deal. It’s not like I’d lay the egg the Packers laid at Moss’s feet even if the interview was the Saturday before the game. But just because there isn’t a problem in this instance doesn’t mean the league shouldn’t clear up the mud.

  7. This really shouldn’t be so hard for a lawyer to understand. There’s a difference between league rules within the franchise and law.
    But even if league rules equated law the Raiders are protected from culpability by the Packers consent.
    In other words there are laws against rape, but not against consensual sex. The Packers don’t feel they are injured by allowing McKenzie to interview Moss, whenever, so there is no violation and no blog story.
    If McKenzie interviewed Moss without Packers consent and they pressed the claim, you’d have a story.
    Sometimes where there’s smoke there’s no fire, just a lawyer playing with matches.

  8. Oh, and while we’re discussing rules that should actually be discussed: What is the definition of the penalty called “Holding” – and why are the New England Patriots the only team never called for it when the game is still in question?

  9. Wouldn’t be an NFL offseason without the Raiders bending some league guidelines. Wouldn’t be surprised if that was explicitly written in Al’s Will to carry on the tradition.

  10. Tampering is grandfathered in in Greenbay. Just like The Lambeau leap, publicly owned football team, not overturning obvious fumbles with the benefit of super slow mo. etc etc etc

  11. Tamponing is not a rule violation. But tampon on tampon crime will not be tolerated…….or allowed to be posted.

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