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League not commenting on whether Arians violated tampering policy


As the name “Bruce Arians” begins to bubble up on the list of potential head-coaching candidates (the Steelers are still waiting for him to retire), the man who currently is serving as the interim head coach of the Colts arguably needs to brush up on some of the rules that apply to folks who speak publicly about football matters.

And, more specifically, about football players who are under contract with other franchises.

I’d love to have him on my team,” said Arians regarding Lions defensive tackle Ndamukon Suh.  “I like the way he plays.  He plays aggressive, hard, fast and physical.”

Since Suh remains two years away from free agency, it’s not tampering in the classic sense.  But it could be tampering in the literal sense.

The league’s anti-tampering policy prohibits “[a]ny public or private statement of interest, qualified or unqualified, in another club’s player . . . to a member of the news media.”  The policy includes this specific example of a forbidden statement:  “He’s an excellent player, and we’d very much like to have him if he were available, but another club holds his rights.”

The league has declined comment on whether Arians’ comments violate the anti-tampering policy.

Though far more troubling violations occur, it’s rare that any coach or G.M. says something that so clearly falls within the confines of what the policy prohibits.  Though it arguably wouldn’t be fair to punish the Colts for a fairly innocuous comment, the rule says what it says.  If the league’s not going to enforce the policy as written, the league needs to change the policy.

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34 Responses to “League not commenting on whether Arians violated tampering policy”
  1. apm says: Nov 29, 2012 1:11 PM

    We obviously need Congress to get involved in the tampering rule too.

  2. thestrategyexpert says: Nov 29, 2012 1:13 PM

    Arians should be suspended, and the Colts should lose a high draft pick. Don’t want sanctions? Then don’t talk about Suh in violation of the rules. Or don’t hire coaches that don’t understand the rules and/or break them. Indy needs to pay. They broke the rules.

    Or if you don’t expect to get punished, then don’t request the league to punish Suh if he decides to take a baseball bat on the field with him and cracks Luck in the kneecaps. Tit for tat, you mess with us, we mess with you. Or the league can step in and stop these types of shenanigans by enforcing the rules that already exist to act as a deterrent from this kind of junk.

  3. timmillah says: Nov 29, 2012 1:14 PM

    If that’s tampering it just further validates that the league’s rules are a sham.

    There has been a lot of talk recently about whether coaches wouldn’t want Suh on their team due to his so-called “dirty” play. Arians was asked specifically about a player and if he’d still want him even though he has a checkered history, and he gave a direct answer. He wasn’t saying “I HOPE SUH COMES TO THE COLTS WHEN FREE AGENCY HITS” or anything to like.

    If they get in trouble for this it’s just as stupid as the rule where Justin Forsett’s “Touchdown” couldn’t be reviewed once Schwartz threw the challenge flag. I get the reasoning for having the 15-yard pentaly in place (so the coaches don’t show up the refs), but they should have just tacked on the 15 yards to the kickoff and still reviewed the play.

    The league is becoming a joke.

  4. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Nov 29, 2012 1:18 PM

    So would Schaub’s comments count? LOL

  5. gosuhgo says: Nov 29, 2012 1:18 PM

    Why would they decline comment? I mean he literally said what the example of what not to say says. If this isn’t tampering I will be completely lost.

  6. hisgirlgotburrelled says: Nov 29, 2012 1:18 PM

    No change is necessary. He clearly is not telling Suh to join his team. They don’t need to change the rule. You need to look more into the spirit of the rule and stop trying to enforce and interpret the absolute exact wording. My goodness what this world has come to when you have to be that careful when giving a player on another team a compliment.

  7. jeffchadwick says: Nov 29, 2012 1:25 PM

    This rule only applies to the Lions. Arians will be fine.

  8. pastabelly says: Nov 29, 2012 1:26 PM

    That is not tampering in any sense. A player on another team said that Suh isn’t worthy to be a Texan and Arians just defended the player. As you say, he is two years from free agency. That’s a lifetime in the NFL. What he did is no different than Rex Ryan saying great things about Tom Brady.

  9. bucrightoff says: Nov 29, 2012 1:31 PM

    I’m guessing every team in the league would love to have the following guys on their team:

    Adrian Peterson
    Calvin Johnson
    Larry Fitzgerald
    Tom Brady
    Aaron Rodgers

    Is it tampering to say so? Ticky tacky or what.

  10. wittersworld says: Nov 29, 2012 1:37 PM

    The rule as quoted above does not prohibit complimenting opposing players. It prohibits a “statement of interest”, as in “I’d love to have him on my team”.

    While I don’t think the coach or the team deserves a severe punishment, there has to be some sort of penalty forthcoming, or any other coach could make similar statements and point at this as precedent.

  11. hatesycophants says: Nov 29, 2012 1:40 PM

    It’s not tampering in any sense.

  12. dexterismyhero says: Nov 29, 2012 1:41 PM

    @thestrategyexpert says:Nov 29, 2012 1:13 PM

    I hope that was your try at sarcasm?

  13. xsfmed says: Nov 29, 2012 1:42 PM

    They’re not commenting because he didn’t violate the rule. Simple as that.

  14. rolltide510 says: Nov 29, 2012 1:57 PM

    Oh come on, it’s not tampering to say you’d love to have a great player on your team. Coaches say things like that all the time.

  15. juanhughjazz says: Nov 29, 2012 2:11 PM

    maybe the lions will get back the draft pick they lost for their “tampering”. we’ll see how consistent the league office is.

  16. blackandbluedivision says: Nov 29, 2012 2:32 PM

    So if Arians gets fined or the team gets reprimanded. What of the reporter who asked the question and set him up?

  17. blackandbluedivision says: Nov 29, 2012 2:33 PM

    bucrightoff says: Nov 29, 2012 1:31 PM

    I’m guessing every team in the league would love to have the following guys on their team:

    Adrian Peterson
    Calvin Johnson
    Larry Fitzgerald
    Tom Brady
    Aaron Rodgers

    Is it tampering to say so? Ticky tacky or what.

    If they publicly say so then yes.

  18. gotothejoe says: Nov 29, 2012 2:41 PM

    A few years back Gunther Cunningham was commenting on the KC Chiefs when they were shaking up the team after a coaching change. Without even saying any names he said something to the effect of “I’d love to have a few of them on the Lions”. That statement cost the Lions a draft pick. For Arians to specifically say he’d love Suh to be on his team, it is 100% tampering by the way the rule reads.

  19. ninerfan94954 says: Nov 29, 2012 3:23 PM

    To steal shamelessly from posters on other sites, “nothing to see here move along.”

  20. electionconfidential says: Nov 29, 2012 3:25 PM

    Whether or not people would want to have Suh on their team has become a part of a national conversation. I think that what Arians said is more conversational than it is tampering.

  21. klunge says: Nov 29, 2012 3:26 PM

    Oh, so the LIONS had to give KC draft picks for nothing more egregious than this, but it happens to one of their players and suddenly it would be unfair to uphold the rule. Well, hey, at least the league is consistent: Lions get screwed by misuse of rules both on and off the field. At least its not a double double standard.

  22. cliffordc05 says: Nov 29, 2012 3:27 PM

    Does anyone think that this is tampering in any way? This is a ridiculous item.

  23. tbd3 says: Nov 29, 2012 3:29 PM

    Completely harmless comment.

  24. bjtmeyer says: Nov 29, 2012 3:34 PM

    Give the guy a break. That seems like a dumb rule anyways. Freedom of speech baby!

  25. ccjcsr says: Nov 29, 2012 3:40 PM

    Must be another unwritten rule

  26. lucky5936 says: Nov 29, 2012 3:49 PM

    I wish Arians would stop and think about the feelings of his own defensive tackles before wishing for crotch kicker to be on his team. So insensitive.

  27. hikohadon says: Nov 29, 2012 4:12 PM

    How late was it when you decided that this was an article that needed to be written?

  28. Punk says: Nov 29, 2012 4:24 PM

    Doubly ironic if Arians was fined for “tampering” with a guy he really doesn’t want and was just being polite about.

  29. sosuhme says: Nov 29, 2012 4:51 PM

    Tampering aside, saying anything positive about Suh is obviously against the rules.

  30. detlions80 says: Nov 29, 2012 5:09 PM

    From a slightly pissed off lions fans (and not about Ariens comment)…. GIVE THEM A BREAK?!?!?!? Give us a flippin break. We get hammered with dumb rules that shouldn’t exist (challenge flag and yes it was Schwartzs fault for throwing it), rules that don’t even exist (Calvin’s process), you name it. Screw giving the Colts a break. Standard penalty for standard breaking of the rule. PLEASE.

  31. cmgww says: Nov 29, 2012 6:00 PM

    What did you expect him to say? “He’s dirty”?? Why give the Lions bulletin board material, as if Suh needs any to begin with. This is clearly a non-story. Tampering?? Is this a joke?

  32. steelerdynasty2010 says: Nov 30, 2012 7:28 AM

    doesnt the league overreact to enough already? he wasnt making a play for Suh. he was CLEARLY referencing his style of play and spoke directly to it. He never even said the guy’s name. the REPORTER used Suh as an example, not Arians. The reporter could have asked the same question and left Suh’s name out of it, described a “hypothetical” player who plays the way Suh plays, and his answer probably would have been the same. relax people. everything isnt a precursor to the ruination of the league.

  33. spgaskins says: Nov 30, 2012 1:43 PM

    Tampering? It sounds to me like he was putting out feelers for a coaching job at Detroit. Suh is not available for two years. Arians can be available for a head coaching job much sooner.

  34. gamer667 says: Dec 1, 2012 10:19 AM

    My comment was removed…go figure…that’s why I don’t get my sports fix from “NBC”…Great article…you deserve a gold star for having nothing to say except garbage

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