Matt Birk fined $5,000 for not wearing a microphone

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We’ve seen a lot of NFL fines over the years, but nothing quite like this.

Adam Caplan of Sirius/XM NFL Radio reports that Ravens center Matt Birk was informed of a $5,000 fine for not wearing a microphone during Baltimore’s last game.  He’s going to appeal the fine.

The NFL has mandated the use of microphones for either the starting center or both starting guards in order to enhance television broadcasts. As Florio mentioned before, this mandate has brought out the worst in ridiculous paranoia from NFL coaches.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if these fines become a weekly occurrence until players learn the hard way.

69 responses to “Matt Birk fined $5,000 for not wearing a microphone

  1. So you’re a proffesional football player and make a great salary, and because you make good money and don’t want to wear a mic they can fine you more than I make in a month and a half for not wearing it is just stupid…

  2. Yeah, silly Birk and his mindless, needless paranoia. Doesn’t he know how hard it is to intercept wireless voice transmissions? We tried for years and never heard a peep. That’s why we don’t do it any more.

    The CIA

  3. Ridiculous. Fining a player for not wearing a mic that is only meant to “enhance television broadcasts” Absolutely ridiculous!

  4. If he doesn’t win his appeal this fine will quietly be taken care of by the organization. I am betting Birk or Gurode and Yanda not wearing wires had more to do with orders from Harbaugh than it did with Birk, not saying that Birk wouldn’t have been against it.

  5. Fine, the next time they want Birk to wear a mic he should have a Tourettes “fit” that would make the cast of Jersey Shore blush.

  6. I see a lot of negative issues with the use of these microphones. The biggest one is that during times of hard competetion some things will be said from trash talk from both teams, that will be aired over the TV networks that the FCC has ruled inappropriate. Prime example is NASCAR, and NASCAR has fined a many of drivers for this infraction as a way to make money. So it seems that Goodell is finding new ways to fine players for playing good hard nosed games for the fans that pay hard earned money to see great games.

  7. They want to enhance the TV product more when there is all this talk of how to get ppl to come to games…why not broadcast the offensive snap count over the stadium sound system, that would enhance the live game.

    …next they are going to have an nfl network crew run out into the huddle with a boom mic and camera.

    This is just getting ridiculous…

  8. Whose game is it anyways, the players or the execs in the offices? Why does it seem that the people playing the game have less and less a say over how to play the game that they play. And the fact that they get fined for doing their job is ridiculous!
    the NFL now stands for National Fratenity of Lawyers.

  9. So…..why weren’t the two starting guards fined as well?

    Also, when did Will Ferrell start taking steroids?

  10. Good for him. Guy has a degree from Harvard in economics and drives a beater. He can spare $5k if he doesn’t want people to hear him grunting, spitting, and swearing on tv.

  11. All of you people who think this is ridiculous have totally missed the point.

    The NFL is a business, and the business is entertainment. It isn’t sports, it’s entertainment.

    And the owners are not there to win titles … they are there, first and foremost, to make money.

    The players are no different. They’re also out for as much money as they can get.

    If you want to maximize revenue from an entertainment product, you make it more entertaining. For example, you mike the center.

    And, since the center is an employee, he has to comply with the organization’s rules. Particularly when those rules are designed to maximize revenue, which coincidentally will maximize the players’ share of that revenue.

    This isn’t about football as a sport. This is about football as entertainment, and designing a product that will make as much money as possible.

    If you don’t like something, THAT’s what you don’t like. Everything else follows from that. You’re just complaining about the symptoms without looking at the disease.

  12. You wanna enhance the TV broadcasts? Get Jim Nance, Phil Simms, and Chris Collinsworth off the air……..this is friggin stupid.

  13. Wearing mics to enhance the NFL experience is more BS from the league. But if it is an agreed upon situation shouldn’t it be the team’s responsibility to make sure the players were the mic? Shouldn’t it be the team that gets fined?

  14. How many times must the networks air *live footage* of players saying barbaric things to each other before they learn their lesson? It doesn’t enhance the game at all. Nothing interesting is said on the field. It’s all trash talk and tired cliches like “defend our house.” Who cares?

  15. Hey quirtevans: aka league office rep…..

    Why don’t you go back to your bosses and tell them we fans don’t like the crap they are doing instead of trying to convince us that what they are doing is right.

    Go back to your cube now and do some real work.

  16. quirtevans:

    They can shove the symptoms and the disease up their quolo’s.

    It shouldn’t be mandatory.

  17. Hint to all NFL O linemen – when you go to the ground with other players, break your microphone while in the pile and say the defensive player broke it while trying to block you/strip the ball/take a punch at you/whatever. A 200lb plus athlete really shouldn’t have much trouble breaking the microphone. Making them pay for a new mike beats you getting fined. Sure, they will wire you up again, so, just break the next one as well. They will get the hint, eventually.

  18. You really want to enhance TV broadcasts??? Then stop all the friggin’ timeouts and commercial breaks!!!

    Good grief. For every minute of action there is 3 minutes of lame commercials.

  19. Putting on a mike should be up to the player. Although I think if i was an NFL player I might let them mike me up and make sure every other word I used started with an F

  20. If the NFL really wants to fill in full game sounds, they should include other bodily noises from players, drunken fan comments, and coaches swearing at each other. How much will those mics cost?

  21. To those saying he was told not to wear it or didn’t like it-

    RavensInsider Aaron Wilson
    Matt birk on 5000 fine ‘I will appeal it I took the microphone off because it was jabbing me in the neck it was a misunderstanding’

    What happened to player safety in the NFL. This is far fetched but IF it was jabbing him in the neck and he fell funny there could be some bad side effect.

  22. I don’t care if some people think it’s paranoid. No player should be forced to wear a mic and fined if he doesn’t. The NFLPA needs to step in on Birk’s behalf.

    Goodell is a bad, bad man.

  23. To anyone putting down any player who doesn’t want to be wired:

    Would YOU want every single thing YOU say during a game recorded?

    There are players who would say “hell yeah!!!!”

    Wire THOSE guys.

  24. If the microphone should be worn by the Center, or either starting Guards…, it seems unfair to just fine the Center. It’s a $5K fine that should be divided among all three and they should each have to pay $1,666.66. I think Birk should carry the extra penny to round up to the full $5K fine, since he’s the Center.

  25. vadog says:
    Oct 12, 2011 12:05 PM
    You really want to enhance TV broadcasts??? Then stop all the friggin’ timeouts and commercial breaks!!!

    Good grief. For every minute of action there is 3 minutes of lame commercials.


    This is why Goddel will never expand to Europe. Europeans hate how slow football is inbetween plays and all the commercial breaks. Soccer is non stop play and there are NO commerical breaks. The advertisers use the sides of the field and buy jersey rights. Also is it just me or has it just gotten slower now with all the td reviews and it seems expanded commerical breaks, tough to watch sometimes.

  26. @rich: I work in sales, I’m on the phone a lot and my calls can be monitored or recorded. Do you think I like that? No, I don’t but if I want the job then I have to deal with it and so does this guy and all others that don’t know how to take orders from their bosses.

  27. Dear NFL,

    If you’re interested in “enhancing the broadcast experience” how about fewer commercial breaks? Particularly eliminating the excessive commercials before and after seemingly every kickoff……

  28. Well, Matt Birk went to Harvard, so the basis for his refusal must have very smart, thoughtful and well reasoned (hit sarcasm font).

  29. If the players don’t want to follow the rules of their employer then they can get other jobs somewhere else ! In the case of Birk,he WAS following the rules and was wearing the mic,but it was annoying him and uncomfortable ,so he took it off. Listening to him he has no problem wearing the mic at all,as long as they make it comfortable and it is not sticking his neck while he is playing. The more on field sound and sidelines sound we fans can get the better !!!

  30. Let me guess, Goodell implemented this “for the fans”, right? My arse. This is such crap. If he doesn’t want to wear the wire he shouldn’t have to. Give me a break. How much is this adding to the broadcast? Not much. There are a number of players who don’t mind, or wouldn’t mind, but to mandate it is ridiculous.

    Aim a directional cone in the area, if that doesn’t work then tough cookies. I am beginning not to like The NEW NFL that much.

    The bad thing is, he appeals the fine to…you guessed it. Goodell. That is like the cop who gave you the speeding ticket is also the judge. Good luck getting out of that one.

  31. For Gods sake!! Enough of this BS! Why should he have to wear a mic if he doesn’t want to? They should all cuss a blue streak and then the NFL WILL GET FINED BY THE SEC.

  32. Another example of how out of touch they are, if a player don’t care to be mic up, leave him alone, find one who don’t care and would love the prime time, this is about management control, no more, no less. I think its way past time for the owners to find a new leader. Bill

  33. Way to clean up the riff raff in the league goodell. I always knew birk couldn’t be trusted…harvard education and all. The nfl takes itself way too seriously, this is out of control.

  34. What hypocrites. The NFL wants to enhance the TV production as much as possible, yet blackouts the broadcast because the fans would rather watch the enhanced experience on TV or can’t afford the overpriced live experience?

    Does anyone else see the irony in this?

  35. “Until the players learn the hard way.”? Really?

    Why would the NFL mandate something like this? Why should a player be forced to wear a microphone on the field? They’re hired to play football, which is how they promote the league’s product.

    The only conclusion I can draw from this is that Roger Goodell has been spending too much time hanging out with that nanny-state mayor Bloomberg.

  36. Disguise the mike as a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon and we’ll be fine for October… (Who is it!?! WHO, will *not* wear the ribbbbbbon!)

  37. I am really tired of this fine BS. What is Mr. Rogers doing? There is something that has to be done to stop these fines so the players can play like NFL players and the fans can enjoy watching the NFL be like the NFL.

  38. Can they capture the smell of sweat and blood from the players and somehow pipe that thru the tv also? I really want to feel like I’m in the game. Wait, this is just more Gooddell being stupid, isn’t it.

  39. I know these guys make a boat load of cash, but how many of you would be okay with your boss putting a mic on you while your at work.

  40. spartyfi says:

    @rich: I work in sales, I’m on the phone a lot and my calls can be monitored or recorded. Do you think I like that? No, I don’t but if I want the job then I have to deal with it and so does this guy and all others that don’t know how to take orders from their bosses.
    Not the same situation. Birk works for his coaches, not for Roger Goodell and the television networks. His coaches oppose requiring him to wear a mic. Do you think your supervisors would record your calls if they thought those recordings could be used to give an advantage to their competitors?

  41. “It wouldn’t be a surprise if these fines become a weekly occurrence until players learn the hard way.”

    Learn the hard way?? Fining him $5,000 is like asking me for a nickel. Get real…

  42. Anyone else notice the dramatic drop in the quality of the game after he took that off???? Me either…

  43. Okay – so $5K x 16 games = $80k.

    If I were the coach, I’d make sure to have an extra $100K worked into my center’s contract, throw away the microphone, and never look back.

  44. Baltimore players just do not seem to understand the rules. Im assuming its bc youre led by incompetant coaches and captains across the board. Except for Ray Ray who is an alleged murderer anyways. Enjoy your shambled 2nd quarter of the season. bums…

  45. I think all players wearing mics should repeat the mantra “Goodell has a god complex” the whole time their mics are on.

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