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John Harbaugh is “very concerned” by the team’s off-field issues

Harbaugh AP

The Ravens didn’t win the Super Bowl this year.  But they’ve easily won the equivalent of the Lombardi Trophy for stuff that would make Vince Lombardi irate.

The Ravens have become the reigning bad boys of the NFL, with multiple incidents including allegations that running back Ray Rice knocked out his fianceé (now his wife) in a New Jersey casino.  And coach John Harbaugh isn’t happy about it.

Via Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun, Harbaugh said Thursday that he’s “very concerned” and “disappointed in some of the silliness that’s gone on” with his players.

Most recently, rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro was arrested for destruction of property and public intoxication, and a trio of players (receiver Jacoby Jones, cornerback Jimmy Smith, and running back Bernard Pierce) were thrown out of a bar for being too drunk.

As Harbaugh sees it, the problems flow from a lack of self-discipline.

“We think everything that you do off the field has an impact [on] what you do on the field, and vice versa,” Harbaugh said. “Discipline’s not like a light-switch. You can’t just walk out of the building and all of a sudden turn it off, then walk back in and turn it on. . . .  Discipline is a way of life.  Football discipline, life discipline, it’s all the same thing. It’s pretty hard to be successful in any walk of life without great self-discipline.  When it starts showing up in other areas of your life, to me, that’s a major red flag for where you’re going as a football player.”

Harbaugh seemed to be particularly miffed by problems arising from excessive alcohol consumption.

“One of those two things are going to be involved, and that goes back to just what we’re talking about,” Harbaugh said.  “You don’t do the right thing just because you call a cab, OK?  I’d rather have you do that than get into a car and get behind the wheel, but how about we start off with the idea that we’re not going to go out and drink?  Why don’t we start off with that? . . .  Because the other side of the coin is we are supposed to be world-class athletes.  That is not what I would call effective training method right there, to go out and drink too much.  We expect those guys to chase a high standard and we’re going to do everything we can to hold them accountable.”

Some would argue that the decision to not hold Rice accountable for committing a frightening act of violence against the woman who became his wife — indeed, the Ravens have seemed to go out of their way to vouch for Rice — makes it harder to demand that other players refrain from committing far less serious offenses.  On one hand, Rice’s front-loaded contract, which paid out $25 million from July 2012 through the end of the 2013 season, makes it impractical for the Ravens to cut him loose with three years left at $10 million total.  On the other hand, Rice hit a woman so hard that it knocked her out.

If the Ravens aren’t going to hold him accountable for that behavior, how can they maintain credibility when imposing discipline on players for garden-variety offenses?

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24 Responses to “John Harbaugh is “very concerned” by the team’s off-field issues”
  1. bradybbgoat says: May 29, 2014 11:53 PM

    Harbaugh talks tough, but let’s see him actually do something about it.

  2. bornahawker says: May 29, 2014 11:55 PM

    This club is falling fast!

  3. thestrategyexpert says: May 29, 2014 11:55 PM

    When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.

  4. k2damfj says: May 29, 2014 11:58 PM

    As a Ravens fan I completely understand that Ray Rice is a complete piece of Sh!t. I want nothing more than for him to never play another down for this team. Unfortunately his contract makes it more or less impossible to cut him until next season. What I would like to see happen is that the Ravens impose a suspension of no less then 8 games and ideally the entire season. After his season long suspension is over I would like him to be released. I am sure it would not sit well with the Ravens locker room or even the players union, but no one can defend what he did no matter how hard they may try. The NFL needs to put a morality clause in every contract. That would be the best way to keep the Ray Rices of the league from going out and doing stupid sh!t all the time.

  5. jetgreeeen says: May 30, 2014 1:17 AM

    he should be. it may cost him his job.

  6. rukkus1 says: May 30, 2014 4:02 AM

    They are treating Ray Rice differently, because in recent years he has been the focal point of their offense. All these other characters are role players and contributors at best.

    You don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

  7. Nofoolnodrool says: May 30, 2014 6:18 AM

    The whine from coach harbaugh is a little late and misdirected. If you wanted to send a message you would have done so with Otis elevator Rice. Now what the latest infractions were are nothing but young men being young men doing what they should be able to do as long as no one gets hurt , no property is damaged, and the Ravens image is not grossly tarnished. But the reaction of coach is just him posturing in the media to get his teams attention, but fines and extra wind sprints would probably do more.

    The Raven image can’t get any worse after the handling of the Rice situation , but if you create enough smoke Goddell will eventually think there is a fire and then something will be done to the joke franchise called the Ravens.

  8. deathtoromo says: May 30, 2014 6:50 AM

    Don’t like the Ravens but Harbaugh is a standup guy and he’s right. And these are things that owner needs to put the hammer down on.

  9. toybkshr says: May 30, 2014 7:07 AM

    Well said Mr Florio – The “star” double treatment scenario appears to have manifested itself in Baltimore quite well.

  10. ravenswhat says: May 30, 2014 7:08 AM

    Harbs has a tough gig. Heck, he faced a mutiny led by Ed reed during the SB run when they lost 4 games at the end of that year. He knows what he’s doing. These players need to man up and stop acting like teens.

  11. PeterKingLovesCoqAVin says: May 30, 2014 7:17 AM

    So now jacking your wife in the face is “silliness.” And that came from the mouth of the man who leads the team.

  12. ralphtherealravenfan says: May 30, 2014 7:26 AM

    What are they supposed to do to Rice? He’s going to be suspended by the league. Should they verbally reprimand him? John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome did that already. At a certain point, it’s just piling on. And for who’s benefit? The vulturous, morality police media? I mean c’mon. What Rice did was terrible. His image is forever stained. However, he’s never been in trouble before, and was a big time force for good with kids in the community for years. That can’t be omitted from the discussion when deciding how to punish him. Which I’m sure swayed the Ravens to make a public stand against domestic violence, but choosing to forgive and support their player. All 32 teams do it. It’s a business after all and shouldn’t be looked at as a model for character development. How much fun would it be if members of the media’s worst mistakes were put on video tape for the world to see and judge?

  13. walkinginthewasteland says: May 30, 2014 7:32 AM

    The team that accepted Ray Lewis’ behavior in Atlanta has never been high on accountability.

  14. annes22 says: May 30, 2014 7:57 AM

    They should start by doing something with Ray Rice. It’s ok to beat up your then girlfriend, and nothing happens??? Off the field incidents seem to follow this team. Maybe they need some help because if they don’t start with Ray, the rest of them are going to think it’s ok to do dumb stuff.

  15. mgjnsc says: May 30, 2014 8:39 AM

    Ahhhh the Raven way, don’t drink but feel free to smack a woman? #booooooooo

  16. jghs38 says: May 30, 2014 8:47 AM

    What happens to this team? Two years ago they won the Super Bowl now half their offensive playmakers are getting in trouble with the law. John has lost some control of this team.

  17. Nofoolnodrool says: May 30, 2014 9:24 AM

    If the Ravens are worried about players doing stupid stuff they would have done something to Otis Rice. But complaint now is like whistling into the wind. I think the Coach needs to rethink his priorities on what is bad behavior. Punching a woman is far greater than to be asked to leave a bar. Sounds to me like lip service and discipline thru the media.not the way to treat educated men….right?

  18. 6andcounting says: May 30, 2014 9:26 AM

    So a couple of adults get drunk and are thrown out of a bar and we indict the entire team of being unfocused and a bunch of malcontents?

  19. fatguystrangler says: May 30, 2014 9:40 AM

    The coach is miffed at players for being on the liquid diet, yet “hypothetical” domestic violence seems to be tolerated?
    It doesn’t look like the top brass have any legs to stand on regarding discipline.

  20. dadsource says: May 30, 2014 10:27 AM

    If I were a Ravens fan, I would boycott this team. No accountability, from the top down, is just an embarrassment to the league. If I were the coach I would have suspended all players indefinitely for their wrong doings. If I’m in the position of leadership and you make me look bad in front of the media and the fans you’re not going to be playing for me. but this is the Ravens we’re talking about here The fans will rush to their defense.

  21. godofwine330 says: May 30, 2014 11:36 AM

    @Harbaugh “How about we start off with the idea that we’re not going to go out and drink? Why don’t we start off with that?”

    In what world? Seriously. In what world do 21-34 year-old men NOT go out and drink? From my time in the military I have seen men and women of that age go out and drink. Some just drink, while others drink a lot. Some towns I have been in the police sought out sailors when locals were doing the same thing. Some locals sought out sailors to start trouble. There is no way to avoid it other than drinking at home.

    I am concerned with DUIs for obvious reasons, but small conflicts and damage <1000 I don't see as much trouble because the player pays for the damage no problem and there are also issues when fights are instigated. There is a small faction of public jealousy when it comes to athletes, and when alcohol is involved sometimes insults/snide comments and then punches are thrown.

    People talking about boycotting the Ravens? Did you just rename that mole hill Everest? Please, sit down. I guess in your opinion Mike Vick should have gotten life, huh? Here's a chill pill. Take two and call me in the morning.

  22. crownofthehelmet says: May 30, 2014 11:36 AM

    He should be more concerned about his team’s on-field issues. The product they put on the field last year is what’s criminal.

  23. melikefootball says: May 30, 2014 11:38 AM

    So why doesn’t Hairbaugh stand up and do something about it. He talks a good story yet condoles everything that has happened on the off season by giving the we stand by speech.

  24. scw1993 says: May 30, 2014 12:38 PM

    What I find extraordinary about the Rice situation is that his wife actually apologized during their recent press conference. She can’t make his apologies for him! This player should have been cut immediately, no question about it. Will she apologize in another press conference when he punches her again? He will repeat, guaranteed. Women beaters don’t stop. I have zero respect for this organization putting the game first, and not doing the right thing. I have nothing to say about Rice, except I think he’s a piece of garbage, and so are the fans who support him and this behavior.

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