Agent Joe Linta made quite the stir recently by taking shots at the Ravens for not signing quarterback Joe Flacco to a long-term deal before Flacco had the kind of leverage that he parlayed into a six-year, $120.6 million contract — which as a practical matter is a three-year, $62 million deal.
On Tuesday morning, Linta appeared on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore to explain his comments, and to defend them. Linta said the remark had its roots in speculation that Flacco is “greedy” and that his contract resulted in the purge of veteran players.
“I’d been hearing that for about three months now,” Linta said. “And after a while you get sick of it because Joe is a consummate pro, he’s a phenomenal player, a great father, a great husband, and a great son. And to be honest with you in sort of a parental mode I’d kind of gotten sick of the intimations that he was greedy and that type of thing. And I said, ‘Look, I have no sympathy for the Ravens. They chose this. They walked away from the deal in August.’
“Look, they’re brilliant guys. They won a Super Bowl. But I thought it was dumb. Look, if that’s the worst thing that they get called in their existence, then they got a pretty good situation. They know how I feel. Everything I was quoted [on], I told them that in August. This is not news to them. It’s how I feel. I’m allowed to have my opinion.”
Linta attributes the uproar over his remarks to the fact that “it was a slow news weekend and people in the media were sensationalizing to get something to talk about.” While he admits that maybe he should have been a little more politically correct, he insisted that tough talk goes with the territory.
“You don’t think they called me a lot worse that that over the last couple years?” Linta said. “It’s part of the business. You argue. You fight. You have disagreements. It’s nothing personal. [Ravens contract negotiator] Pat Moriarty is welcome in my house every day of the week. I love the guy. I absolutely adore that guy. He’s a pro, he’s a great guy. I think the world of him. But we’re allowed to disagree, correct?”
Though someone from USA Today prompted Linta for his opinion, and he provided it, agents and players and anyone else who makes NFL news need to realize that, whether it’s a press release or a response to an unanticipated question, whatever the person says will be scrutinized for news value. Especially if it comes at a time when things are otherwise slow, via language that seems a blunt or coarse.
Indeed, Linta didn’t merely call the Ravens dumb. He said that “I’ve never in my life seen a dumber move.”
Linta’s not worried that his ability to work with the Ravens will be affected by his comments. “If I need to issue a public apology, if I offended them by using the word ‘dumb,’ then so be it. That’s fine. Hey, I’m sorry,” Linta said. “But I’m allowed to have my opinion. Like I said, they’ve called me a lot worse than that.”
Still, the Ravens haven’t called Linta bad things publicly. That’s the difference here. Arguing privately is one thing. Arguing to the media is another.
Linta definitely isn’t dumb. He went to Yale. Deep down, he surely understands that nothing good comes from taking gratuitous potshots in the press. And he’s trying to minimize the situation to ensure that there won’t be any lingering ill will.
“The bottom line is I do have tremendous respect for them. I always have. But am I allowed to disagree with them? Absolutely.”
We absolutely agree, as long as those disagreements remain private.