Turner talks about resolution of Towelgate


We’re still trying to figure this one out.  The Chargers have been cleared of cheating in connection with a towel that was confiscated last month during that Monday night meltdown against the Broncos.  But the Chargers have been fined $20,000 for not turning over the towel promptly enough to the game officials, which suggests that someone was trying to hide whatever it was that the Chargers were doing that ultimately was deemed to be not cheating.

And the towel that the Chargers and other teams were using can’t be used for the rest of the season, at a minimum.

Coach Norv Turner was strident on Wednesday, even though the overall circumstances seem to indicate that the Chargers were doing something they shouldn’t have been doing.

“There is always going to be a reaction in terms of something like that,” Turner told reporters regarding the fact that the controversy painted the team in a negative light.  “I think the way it was reported had something to do with it. Someone didn’t wait until they found out what was actually going on when they reported it.  That is what caused the big stir.  I think it was pretty accurate in how we depicted it.”

Turner was asked about the decision to appeal the fine, but he avoided providing a direct answer.  “It is disappointing to me but I think the most important thing is that there are a lot of people in this league that were using the towel,” Turner said.  “Certainly it wasn’t being done to deceive anyone.”

It appears that the Chargers were able to persuade the NFL that enough teams were using the towel to make it unfair to punish the Chargers.  Still, the fact that no team can use the towel going forward proves that use of the towel violates the rules.

So it’s not that the Chargers were cheating.  It’s that everyone who was using the towel was cheating, and the league apparently decided against having to publicly point a finger at multiple NFL franchises for cheating.

32 responses to “Turner talks about resolution of Towelgate

  1. “………and the league apparently decided against having to public point a finger at multiple NFL franchises for cheating.” – Florio

    Yep, and I think most of us are ok with that, this time.

  2. “So it’s not that the Chargers were cheating. It’s that everyone who was using the towel was cheating, and the league apparently decided against having to public point a finger at multiple NFL franchises for cheating.”


    So it’s not like the Saints were cheating. It’s that everyone had a pay-for-performance system, and yet the league (Goodell) decided to only target the Saints.

  3. Severe punishments for things many teams did are reserved for the Saints. Southern California is much too big of a media market to jeopardize.

  4. Well this one is easy. The NFL was experimenting with this “marijuana” stuff to see what it was all about in wake of the new potential legal changes when they made their decision on how to handle this case:

    “Uhhh oh yeah that like totally doesn’t make sense dude what we just did. Ummm maybe like nobody will notice it being weird or something”

  5. Seems pretty straight-forward to me. The towel didn’t neatly fall into their ban, so they throw a fine at them to save face and create a uniform rule going forward banning the towel. Here’s the rule from the NFL 2012 Rule Book:

    Rule 5-4-3h – (Prohibited items) Adhesive or slippery substances on the body, equipment, or uniform of any player; provided, however, that players may wear gloves with a tackified surface if such tacky substance does not adhere to the football or otherwise cause handling problems for players.

    The towels supposedly make the hands more tacky, but not to the point of being adhesive – you can’t describe a ‘waxy substance’ (as the makers of the towels call it) as being adhesive. The towels were essentially doing what the gloves do, make the hands tacky but not sticky (there is a difference) except QBs and some others don’t like using tackified surface gloves.

    This would be why the officials would start shaking hands. If the “tackified substance” was transferred to the officials hands, the official would think it was a violation of the adhesive ban as written.

    But the substance isn’t an adhesive. But it clearly does more than what the NFL is comfortable with, so just ban it, toss out a nominal fine and move on.

  6. Ask the Saints – punishing one team for something other teams are alleged to do, without at least glancing at the other teams, is pro forma in this league.

  7. bearflagfan –

    but that rule you cite doesn’t make sense, the key word is “adhesive”, and this towel apparently is tacky but not “adhesive”, so it’s not in violation of the rule, so why is the towel now being restricted? If it was “adhesive” then the Chargers are cheating but they were ruled to not be, thus no “adhesive”

  8. “Antonio Gates-gate” and “Broncos defenders were the ones catching the balls” are two great examples of why I check this site about 50 times a day.

  9. Oh man the saints won’t stop, took 6 years and multiple American tragedies to stop the story of drew Bree’s squaring of against a hurricane on bourbon street armed only with some colored feathers and mardi gras beads,
    Now everytime someone cheats these fans will cry foul play and conspiracy.

  10. How many gates do we really need in the NFL? Why can’t teams just play games? I really don’t care about towels, video, or paying people to do their jobs.

  11. Sounds to me like the Chargers were able to prove the Giant’s were using the same towels so the whole thing goes away…

  12. With the way Goodell has mishandled the BountyGate scandal, it was far better to simply punt Towelgate away, and quickly. I think most saw this conclusion coming weeks ago.

  13. the difference between this and the saints is that when the teams were told to stop pfp, 31 apparently did, while one didn’t. here they said stop and i am sure that if they catch anyone using the towel in the future, they will hit them hard.

  14. All I know is that since this started, and presumably teams stopped using the towel, there have been more dropped passes across the board than I can ever remember. I do not think this is a coincidence. If it keeps up I say give the towels back lol

  15. The Chargers’ sideline guy, the guy with the towel, had a ref come up to him all of the sudden, and start demanding the towel like he was a cop or something. So the guy panicked a little, even though it was legal, so he tried to put it in his pocket. Big deal. That’s why the Chargers got fined. Go read the NFL’s statement, Goodell just can’t tolerate shenanigans, ya know. The ref was wrong, the league was wrong, and Goodell still has to find a reason to punish the Chargers to save face as Mr. Cool Ice tough guy.

  16. i believe you are wrong in surmising the use of the towel violated rules, it clearly didn’t

    i believe what we have here is a rare case where teams were using something the nfl hadn’t heard about, which amazes me, as it’s been used on nfl sidelines for a decade at least

    the nfl has a new animal they just discovered , that was right in front of their faces for 10 years! and now they have to decide before next season, if it’s legitimate to use, or if they have to rewrite their rules to exclude it

    the way the rules are written now, the towel is in a gray area

    the actual $20k fine is easy to explain, that’s pure obstruction…..

    if you fight with a cop, and you’re correct, you still get hit with obstruction

  17. “So it’s not that the Chargers were cheating. It’s that everyone who was using the towel was cheating, and the league apparently decided against having to publicly point a finger at multiple NFL franchises for cheating.”


    lol Pats fan laughing here. It’s the same exact thing as ‘SpyGate’. Jimmy Johnson even said that every NFL team did or tried to do it. The Pats were just the only ones that were caught doing it after the league memo to stop it had gone out that summer. And only caught because their bitter spurned ex D coordinator decide to rat on something that no other coach would do, because they all did it. People ask all the time, why did Goodell trash the tapes etc…….well for the same reason above….. NFL knew that it was a common practice.

    So when all you jealous, moronic fans of sub-par teams resort to bringing up spy-gate or Tom Brady’s hair as the only thing you can say about the leagues best franchise……. now you know why we just roll our eyes and laugh (that and the fact we kick your tail every week).

  18. I don’t understand why they don’t make an example of the Chargers when that has been the NFL’s MO for the past decade. In the past it has been simple, you got caught you will be punished, who cares if others were doing it? But now it is ok? Gooddell did a good job of cleaning up the sport, but his recent decisions suggest it may be time for him to go. It suggests to me that he has favorites. It looks like they even tired to cover it up, just like other caught teams!

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