Blog Entry

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz

Posted on: October 21, 2011 3:15 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 3:32 pm
In the eyes of the NFL, close-talking is not a crime. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The NFL seems uninterested in dispelling the perception that there are two sets of rules -- one for the players and one for everyone else associated with the league. The latest instance came after Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz reenacted the "Wait, what did he just do to me?!" scene that has played out at every pro wrestling match ever staged.

On merit alone the incident isn't worth a fine (and none was levied); the sheer embarrassment of being a part of such a spectacle is punishment enough. But this is the NFL, where no transgression is deemed too small (see, for example) … except when it doesn't involve players.

Remember when the Colts announced before the season that they had hired former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel as a game-day consultant? Instead of meting out the punishment, the league seemed happy to let Indianapolis handle it, but only after the story went public. That would've never happened had Tressel been a player (like, say, Terrelle Pryor).

Understandably, these inconsistencies irk players, and two of them spoke out about it Thursday during an appearance on NFL Network's Total Access. Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey and Texans wideout Derrick Mason, who have 28 years of NFL experience between them, were amazed Harbaugh and Schwartz escaped punishment.

(For what it's worth -- and we imagine not much -- NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said this on Monday: "Fortunately, there was no fighting and thus no basis for a fine. … However, both coaches told [VP of football operations] Ray Anderson today that their post-game conduct was wrong and will not happen again. ... We believe their response is the correct one and that their post-game conduct going forward will be more appropriate.")

“What if that was a player? How would (the NFL) react to that?,” Bailey asked. “These are supposed to be the leaders of our team(s), and you let them get away with it, so to speak, and now how do you think the players will start acting? I like it personally, but I just know how the NFL operates today, it’s amazing to me they let this slide.”

Mason agreed.

“I think they should have (been fined), because these are the leaders of your team,” he said. “I think the NFL should have slapped them with some type of fine, $5,000 or $10,000 here or there, to at least show them they have to be responsible for what they do on the field.”

We love that Mason has no idea how much the coaches should've been fined, no doubt because the league has a history of arbitrarily handing out punishments.

It's one thing to be strict -- we get that. There's a plan, and even if most people don't agree with it, they know the rules going in. But when the judge, jury and executioner is a paranoid schizophrenic you're going to have issues like this crop up several times a season.

(By the way,'s Doug Farrar notes that "it could certainly be argued that both [Schwartz and Harbaugh] stepped on the wrong side of this one," and then points to the NFL's fine schedule which plainly states that "Sportsmanship: Excessive Profanity; other Unsportsmanlike Conduct (e.g., toward opponent(s), game personnel, fans, etc.): $10,000 / $20,000.")

In a web-exclusive, the analysts answer your questions for the 7th week of the season. Get the latest from JB, Phil, Cris, and Warren.

This seems like a good place to include what some other NFL coaches had to say about The Handshake when it invariably came up at their respective weekly press conferences.

Bill Belichick: "[The post-game handshake] is so heavily scrutinized by the media that it’s an event bigger than the game itself, which is so absurd. Like a lot of things, it takes any personalization out of the game and makes it a public topic of discussion. I think it’s pretty ridiculous that the media focuses on it the way it does.

“I’d like to think that the reason that the people are there is to see the game and to see the competition. But they seem to want to talk about everything but the game. That’s not uncommon. That’s the media’s job, so that’s what they do. It certainly takes away from, as a coach, the things that you would say, so you find other times to do it outside of that. Maybe before the game, or a phone call to the coach after the game, that kind of thing.”

Mike Tomlin: "I really have no thoughts [on the handshake]. I think it is the same sometimes, when we pay attention to things that are meaningless, insignificant. The story of the NFL should be on the game itself. That was a hard-fought game played by two really good football teams, two exciting teams on the rise. I think that should be the story, not some unfortunate incident that happened after the game. I think that is silly."

When asked what does into a handshake, Tomlin was frank.

"I don't practice it. I don't think about it. I am just going to be cordial, be respectful and wish them well moving forward. I don't know about the norms, OK. I don't get into that. If I spend too much time thinking about the handshake, then I am not doing my job."

John Harbaugh: "I can just tell you this: I think I know who was right. But whoever was right or wrong, I know whose side I’m on. I’m definitely taking sides. [It’s] the same side I’ve always taken. … You know what? Everybody’s got a lot to learn. So I guess right now, [Jim's] 5-1. If the biggest lesson he has right now is how to shake hands postgame, after a victory, he’s doing OK.”

Fair point. But as one NFL coach told's Clark Judge, Harbaugh and Scwhartz "are going to regret it in the morning. They just bought a film clip for life."

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Since: Apr 1, 2009
Posted on: October 21, 2011 8:47 pm

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz

Unfortunatly, I agree with everything Brian just wrote.

Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: October 21, 2011 8:21 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 21, 2011 8:05 pm

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz

Let's face it...Schwartz hated losing...especially to a guy whom he had yelled at about "knowing the rules" earlier in the day; especially when his team was undefeated; especially to a team that was a 4 1/2 point underdog; and especially when he was outcoached at the end of the game.

HAHAHAHAHA.  Thanks for the laugh man, you're awesome.  So, let me get this straight.  A coach who's team needed to convert a 4th down play with less then 2 minutes late to win a game "outcoached" the other guy?  LOL   Moron.

For as much as Schwartz may have overreated to a very unprofessional Harbaugh, you 49'er fans are just as bad if not a lot worse.  You're getting a little too excited over one win.....

Take it easy folks... a year ago you were all ready to jump off the nearest bridge.  Suddenly you act like your Superbowl contenders.... 

Since: Dec 12, 2006
Posted on: October 21, 2011 7:32 pm

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz

John Harbaugh coaches the Ravens...spend a a clue...I only wish that Harbaugh had smacked Schwartz on the back of the head...or front of the head for that matter...either one would have worked.  And the "Security" gaurds are not under Schwartz' control.  If they were then Schwartz would have been arrested for "going after" Harbaugh.  Only in Schwartz' mind did Harbaugh truly do anything worth fighting over.  Let's face it...Schwartz hated losing...especially to a guy whom he had yelled at about "knowing the rules" earlier in the day; especially when his team was undefeated; especially to a team that was a 4 1/2 point underdog; and especially when he was outcoached at the end of the game.

Since: Jul 28, 2011
Posted on: October 21, 2011 7:22 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Sep 24, 2008
Posted on: October 21, 2011 6:20 pm

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz

Fine Harbaugh for what....shaking his hand too hard. Schwartz is the instigator of this, not once but twice he chased after Harbaugh after his 5-0 team got beat on the field.

Maybe the NFL and Harbaugh should send Schwartz a copy of his sideline antics either after or during each Lions game and explain how excessive celebration is a penalty in the NFL. Schwartz is nothing but a sore loser and had his team won he'd have been the one running all over the field celebrating the win.

Get over it Schwarzt....and the press. There are many more games to play before they ever see each other again. 

Since: Feb 13, 2007
Posted on: October 21, 2011 6:15 pm

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz

Do so tell me why a friendly pat on the back should be fined? Jim Schwartz really needs thicker skin, cause that's all it was.

Since: Apr 14, 2011
Posted on: October 21, 2011 5:58 pm

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz

Players trash talk before and after every play. They don't get fined for that...........

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: October 21, 2011 5:49 pm

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz

They should do "bows" instead. Or do it with a Kung Fu salute --- left palm shields the right fist.  Kung Fu salute is better, because if they want to fight afterward the salute, then it is ok. Karate salute will work as well.

Since: Dec 12, 2006
Posted on: October 21, 2011 5:26 pm

Players think NFL should fine Harbaugh, Schwartz

Razorwire...if you watched the ENTIRE incident you'll see exactly how the players felt.  They were the ones who wre pushing Schwartz aside.  They were the ones who high-fived Harbuagh in the tunnel to the locker room.  They were the ones who were yelling and screaming when Harbaugh gave his post game speech to the team.  Guys like Vernon Davis, Anthony Davis and Ray McDonald were right in the middle of it, backing their coach.  Maybe the Niners needed a more subdued guy like Mike Nolan or Dennis Erickson.  Oh that's right...they had those guys and both of them proceeded to put together losing seasons.  As long as Harbaugh has them winning, the Niner players will drink the Kool-aid because it's been years since they last made the play-offs.  This year will be an exception.  And whenyou look at the Niners as a team, there are very few changes in personnel from the Singletary regime.  About the only MAJOR change that's been made is the coaching staff.  Evidentally, Razorwire, you're not from the Bay Area or you would know that the Niner players are "on board" with Harbaugh...alll you have to do is listen to them or read their comments.  And as for the "pathetic antics and pointless conflicts", are you referring to his run-in with Saint Peter Carroll and the squeaky-clean U$C program?  Or maybe the run-in with Mike Ditka, a guy who was never known to have a run-in with anyone before Harbaugh arrived?  Fine Harbaugh, but it won't take away his enthusiasm, his love of football or his head for coaching.  Also, don't htin Schwartz is "Mr. Classy".  Look at his antics during the Cowboy game and you'll see a horse of different color.  Schwartz lied in his press conference, plain and simple.  He wasn't "pushed" out of the way; he was slapped on the back;  And he wasn't the one receiving obscenities; he was the one handing them out.  If your house is glass, Mr. Schwartz, don't throw any stones.

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