On Sunday, Charley Casserly of CBS reported that the Buccaneers will be fined for having contact with players during the lockout. We followed that up with a report that the issue arose from seven calls that were placed to players — three of which registered one minute or less. Coach Raheem Morris called tight end Kellen Winslow after Winslow’s wife had a baby, and Morris called former Bucs linebacker Niko Koutovides.
On Monday, Morris addressed the situation during a press conference, admitting that he called Winslow. Morris also said that he called cornerback Aqib Talib after he “went to jail,” which apparently is a reference to Talib’s arrest for aggravated assault.
Morris then thanked (with sarcasm) JoeBucsFan.com, a Buccaneers fan blog that reported on radio comments from Morris indicating that he had been in touch with the team’s players.
“Hey listen,” Morris said in early June, per JoeBucsFan.com. “I talk to them all the time. I talk to those guys all the time.” On Monday, Morris indicated that the item from JoeBucsFan.com resulted in the NFL checking his phone records. (Here’s our item on the topic from June 10.)
But it’s not fair to blame JoeBucsFan.com or anyone else. JoeBucsFan.com didn’t violate the rules against lockout contact, Morris did. More importantly, JoeBucsFan.com didn’t blab to the world via radio that the rules had been violated. Morris did.
Though we realize that some teams believe that local media outlets shouldn’t say or do anything that could get the teams in trouble, the far better approach is for the teams to avoid saying or doing things that could get the teams in trouble.