Former Raiders receiver Tim Brown is backtracking from his suggestions that his old coach Bill Callahan sabotaged the team in Super Bowl XXXVII.
“I have never said that he sabotaged the game,” Brown said Wednesday morning on the Dan Patrick Show. “All I’m saying is, all I was saying after the game was, you know, the question was asked about this situation, but no one ever said — and I said on the radio show last Saturday night — that’s something that could never be proven. We can’t go inside the mind of Bill Callahan and say, ‘Oh, yeah, we knew exactly what he was thinking, what he was trying to do.’ All I’m saying is, the question was asked. But of course the media hears ‘sabotage’ and ‘Bill Callahan’ and ‘throwing the football game,’ now they’re saying ‘Throwing the football game’ and that terminology was never used. But that wasn’t the intent.”
If you’re having a hard time following Brown’s line of thinking there, you’re not alone. Brown started this whole thing by saying in a radio interview on Saturday that he believes Callahan “hated the Raiders so much that he would sabotage the Super Bowl so his friend can win the Super Bowl.” Brown acknowledged in the interview that he couldn’t prove it, but just because Brown admits he can’t prove the allegation doesn’t mean he didn’t make the allegation. Brown did make the allegation.
Brown also says he only made the allegation because he wanted to defend former Raiders center Barret Robbins, who disappeared on the team the day before the Super Bowl. According to Brown, it was Callahan suddenly changing the game plan on Friday that caused Robbins to go into a panic and leave the team on Saturday.
“The fact of the matter is, this was all about Barret,” Brown said. “I mean, there were some things being said about Barret that I felt as if I had to tell the whole story so people could at least put in context what possibly could have happened to the kid two days before the biggest game of his life. But I didn’t say that Bill sabotaged the game. I wouldn’t say that, because that’s not something I would ever have knowledge about. But I have to say that the word was thrown around, not just by myself but by several folks right after the game.”
Brown’s claim about Robbins, however, doesn’t make a lot of sense. Robbins has struggled with mental illness for most of his adult life and has behaved erratically many times. Blaming Callahan for one element of the long history of personal and legal problems that Robbins has had is extremely unfair.
And it’s also extremely unfair for Brown to throw out such a serious allegation against Callahan when he acknowledges that he has no real basis for it. No matter what Brown may say now, he can’t put that toothpaste back in the tube.