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Disciplinary Action

Ravens coach fined $15K for ref bump



Week 2: Ravens at Bengals

The league has zero tolerance for deliberate contact with the officials as Ravens coach John Harbaugh was fined $15,000 by the NFL. While fines are usually late-week business, the league levied this fine on Tuesday, underscoring the zero-tolerance nature of “impermissible verbal and physical contact with an official”. Harbuagh was arguing a fourth-quarter roughing-the-passer call when he made contact with line judge Ron Marinucci in the chest. (Sorry, no video available.) Harbaugh explained the contact in a Monday news conference prior to being fined:

I was a little animated in describing the strike zone, and I think he understood the emotions of it. I’ll make sure that I let him know that I think I was over the line in my animation without question, and that’s never something you want to do. And the point is we had great conversations with those guys throughout the game. We disagreed and it was animated, but it was respectful throughout. And I know Ron understood that it was respectful, so it should be OK.

Harbaugh was not penalized during the game for his actions. The fact that this came up in a Monday press conference, prior to any announcement of a fine from the league office, shows that Harbaugh’s actions were at least questionable, which historically has been used as a determining factor for a fine.

(Updated 9/26: Apparently, the fine was handed out on Tuesday, not Monday, which make Harbaugh’s comments from his press conference prior to the fine.)

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)