Tag Archives: Baltimore Ravens

Reflections on Laremy Tunsil’s Historic Draft Slide

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

The 2016 NFL Draft was held this past Thursday night in Chicago and there were some surprises to say the least. A couple of things that may have shocked some fans included linebacker Myles Jack falling out of the first-round, CB Eli Apple being drafted at No. 10 by the New York Giants, and the mind-boggling amount of former Ohio State Buckeyes taken in the first-round. But one thing that took everyone by surprise was how far offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil fell.

                                                                                    Image via http://www.clarionledger.com

A dramatic series of events led to Tunsil falling all the way to the Miami Dolphins at No. 13. This player, who was once seen as the number one overall prospect in the draft, saw his downfall begin moments before the draft. Exactly thirteen minutes before the start of the draft, a video was posted to Laremy’s verified Twitter account that showed the former Ole Miss Rebel smoking what is assumed to be weed from a gas-mask bong. After a couple of minutes the video was taken down and the account was then deactivated. The video may have only been up for a few minutes but the damage was done and once again the power of social media was demonstrated.

Even after Tunsil had been selected by the Dolphins the mayhem continued. After the pick, an image was uploaded to Laremy’s Instagram account that showed text messages supposedly between Ole Miss Assistant Athletic Director John Miller and Tunsil. The conversation consisted of Tunsil seeking money from Miller to pay his mother’s rent and electric bills. Last season at Ole Miss, Laremy served a seven-game suspension stemming from similar accusations where he was found guilty of accepting improper benefits.

When it was all over, Laremy was still drafted in the top twenty but his fall cost him millions of dollars. In an article from ESPN titled Video kept Ravens from drafting Laremy Tunsil with No. 6 overall pick, writer Jamison Hensley discusses how the video impacted the Baltimore Ravens evaluation of Tunsil. The author writes, “The Baltimore Ravens would have taken Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil with the No. 6 overall pick were it not for the gas mask video that surfaced.” Even though he only talks about one team, it is probably fair to say the twelve other teams that passed on the prospect were thinking similarly. In the same article, Hensley writes something that ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, “According to Schefter, Tunsil lost $7 million by falling seven spots in the draft.” Not only did this social media blunder tarnish the player’s image, but it also caused him to lose a lot of money.

It was very hard to watch this young man’s life just unravel right in front of us on one of the biggest stages in professional sports. But this is just the latest case of athletes suffering at the hands of social media. Recently it has been reported that the Dolphins believe Tunsil’s former financial adviser is who hacked into these accounts and posted the image and video. During the draft, ESPN analyst Jon Gruden gave his opinion on the issue, “We live in a glass house these days. … There’s a lot of money and people’s futures at stake. I hope this doesn’t come back to haunt Tunsil. Hopefully it’s a learning experience for him. He’s gotta clean this up if he wants to play in this league.” With this statement, Gruden echoes mine and surely many others opinions.

Following the draft, Laremy Tunsil admitted to the media that he had in fact taken money from an Ole Miss coach and that the screenshots were real. It is unclear whether the NCAA had already been aware of these actions since they had already suspended the player last season for the same reason. Now that Tunsil had admitted such a thing to an audience of millions, the NCAA will surely continue their investigation with the university.

This event is one of the most publicized examples of an athlete being punished for things that had been posted to their social media accounts. Obviously it is unfortunate for Tunsil to fall all the way to No. 13, but he is saying all the right things starting with accepting full responsibility for his actions. The player has a bright future ahead of him in the NFL but this will follow him for many years to come. It cannot be emphasized enough how big of a role social media plays in forming a person’s image and it is crucial for athletes as well as regular people to realize how to properly use these platforms. It is my hope that other athletes learn from this and don’t make the same mistake Tunsil did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media Reacts: NFL’s First Month in 6 Years With No Arrests

by Nicholas Muhl

The first month of the 2015 NFL regular season ended this past weekend. The end of September also marked the first month in 6 years that no NFL player has been arrested.

According to Reuters reporter Mike Rosenberg, the NFL has averaged “an arrest per week” since 2009. Rosenberg also reported that this is the first time in 15 years “the NFL went a calendar month during the season without an arrest.” The league has already had 33 total arrests in 2015, most recently San Fransisco 49ers Linebacker Ahmad Brooks who was charged with sexual battery at the end of August.

Alexandra Sifferlin reported the news for TIME and included a link in his article to USA Today’s NFL arrest archive. The archive contains a complete, descriptive account of a total of 805 NFL player arrests records dating back 15 years to January 24, 2000 when Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith was arrested for allegedly beating and choking his wife. It seems paradoxical that 15 years later we continue to see so many similar headlines. Katie Link and Christian Bryant of the Ventura County Star posed this question about the news of an arrest-free month, “should we view this ‘achievement’ as pathetic, or impressive?” On the other hand, the Dispatch Times referred to it as a “mind-blowing milestone.”  

Since 2009 the NFL has been subject to many media and criminal investigations regarding their many player arrests. Most notably is former New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez who was convicted of murder in April. Hernandez and other high profile players like former Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, San Francisco’s Ray MacDonald, Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice, and Viking’s Adrian Peterson have made national headlines and brought up many social issues outside of the sport of football; including rape culture, drug use, animal cruelty, and alcohol and drug abuse. 

The criminal history and violent backgrounds behind many NFL players is not an issue the media has shied away from reporting. However, it is important to note that news of the NFL’s arrest-free month quickly spread on social media, sports blogs and major media conglomerates. This differs from the issue of injuries which I detailed in my article last week, “Protecting the player’s or Protecting the Shield”. Approximately 15 percent of players in the league have experienced an injury this season. While on an individual level this has been heavily reported, injuries and their increasing totals have been a largely avoided issue. However, media and the league did not shy away from making sure (quite literally) that everyone knows it went through an arrest-free month. The NFL and it’s PR department have attempted to put some distance between itself and both the injury and conduct issues the league faces, and will jump at any opportunity they can to make the league look better as it and commissioner Roger Goodell continue to face extreme criticism for the way the league is currently being run. It remains to be seen whether real change is progressing in the league or if this month was merrily a statistical anomaly that further proves the major conduct issues the NFL faces.

Harbaugh’s Comments Highlight Sports Journalism Issue

By Nick Muhl

Following his team’s win versus the Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh decided in his post-game speech to take a “shot” against their division rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens lost last week to the Steelers in a blowout 43-23, where Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw six touchdowns.

That was a tough challenge. We have a team coming off a bye week. You had a team in this room off a very physical Sunday night game. You know what I’m saying? Saw what happened on the other part of that, right? Strike that from the record books, ok? Is that NFL? Are you with us or them? Make sure that doesn‘t get…What I’m about to say doesn‘t get talked about, ok? That team beat us last week, okay? All right? Then they went and got their [a-s] kicked this week. This team was in the same game and went and got the job done this week. That’s who you are. That’s who you are. Congratulations” said Harbaugh shortly before he handed out this week’s game ball.

The video of Harbaugh making the comments has since been deleted from the website it was published and from Youtube, but can still be viewed here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2262305-john-harbaugh-takes-shot-at-steelers-tells-cbs-not-to-air-comments

Harbaugh’s opinion on the Steelers is no surprise. Without a doubt the Head Coach of a winning football team who beat the Steelers earlier in the year, believes that his Raven’s are the superior team to the Steelers. However, there is a bigger issue at hand with Harbaugh’s comments.

As read in the above quote, and clarified by the Raven’s front office on Monday, Harbaugh’s comments were supposed to remain off the record. As mentioned by Dan Carson, sports writer for Bleacher Report, Harbaugh “made a point of asking the CBS camera crew in the Baltimore locker room not to air the footage.” Clearly though, the coaches request was not met by the CBS crew.

This arises a very popular talked about topic in journalism, especially sports journalism, what is “off the record” and does it really exist?

“Off the Record” is a journalism concept that an interviewee, or any person for that matter, can make a comment or answer a question privately to a journalist. It is common belief that the comment, or quote, cannot be published or in this case aired on TV. From my own personal experiences shadowing Tom Archdeacon, sports writer for the Dayton Daily News, “off the record” is merely a journalists tool to gaining more information.

While shadowing Archdeacon, I observed him use the “off the record” tactic to learn information from one player. He would then take the information he just learned and create a new question for a new player to get him to divulge farther into the topic that was once “off the record.”

Every journalist has their own code of journalism ethics they follow. Archdeacon’s use of the “off the record” followed his own code of journalism ethics. He didn’t necessarily publish what was said “off the record” but he did use the information to his advantage. In Harbaugh’s case however, the journalist filming the post-game speech did not have the same code of ethics as Archdeacon.

The harsh truth to realize, especially for those involved with sports who are interviewed often like Harbaugh, “off the record” does not exist. In today’s society anything you say can and will be used against you, especially in journalism. No matter the time of day or who you are talking to, it is important for those in the sports community to realize that they say can be published by the media. While Harbaugh and the Ravens have every right to be upset that the footage was published, in the age of social media and constant flow of information being posted and read online, the Ravens and the sports community as a whole need to come to realize the “free-for-all” game that is sports journalism.

Half Time At the Super Bowl

By Kia Tyus

Quarterbacks were the main topic of conversation during this year’s Super Bowl half-time commentary. The broadcast team also analyzed each team’s performance and how they should adjust play in the second half.

When talking about the Baltimore Ravens, the broadcasters’ main focus was on quarterback Joe Flacco. He had an exceptional first-half and threw for three touchdowns and zero interceptions. The commentators paid special attention to Flacco’s ability to move around and get himself open for a throw.

The Ravens’ defense was another topic. Commentators painted the defense as bullies toward the 49ers.

On the 49ers, commentators focused on quarterback Colin Kaepernick and how he looked inexperienced and uncomfortable in the first half.

The Ravens’ special teams received sharp criticism from the commentators for their kick-off coverage.

To close the half, the commentators used a statistic to describe how improbable a 49ers comeback would be. Only two teams in NFL history have come back to win after trailing by more than 10 points, they said.