NFL fines 13 for fight in Raiders-Panthers game
CHARLOTTE (AP) _ Loyalty can be costly in the NFL.
The league on Thursday imposed fines of $54,500 on seven Carolina Panthers players and six members of the Oakland Raiders for fighting late in Sunday’s game.
``I can’t say I’m proud of what I did,″ said Carolina center Frank Garcia, whose $7,500 fine was the largest levied on the Panthers. ``But I came to the defense of a teammate, and that’s more important than money to me. I’d do it again.″
The fight began when Carolina’s Fred Lane, who rushed for franchise records of 147 yards and three touchdowns in the Panthers’ 38-14 victory, was squirming for extra yards on a sweep with 2:36 remaining. An official blew the whistle after Lane appeared to have been stopped along the sideline, but Oakland’s Russell Maryland tackled Lane.
Garcia charged Maryland, setting off a series of fights.
The league office fined the 13 between $1,000 and $17,500, depending on whether a player was an active participant or simply went into the area to try to help restore order.
``Fighting is not part of the NFL game,″ said Gene Washington, the league’s director of football development. ``We simply will not tolerate it.″
The Raiders refused to comment, but Carolina coach Dom Capers said the sanctions did not come as a surprise.
``Any time there’s a fight, you know that anybody who’s in the fight and in the vicinity of the fight is going to be given some type of fine,″ he said. ``Those rules are spelled out to us in training camp.″
Maryland, fined $5,000, and fellow Oakland defensive tackle Chester McGlockton, fined $17,500, were both assessed personal fouls and ejected after the fight.
Defensive end Darrell Russell of the Raiders also was fined $5,000, cornerback Calvin Branch and safety Eric Turner were fined $2,500 and cornerback Perry Carter was fined $1,000.
For the Panthers, $2,500 fines were levied on tackle Blake Brockermeyer, quarterback Kerry Collins, guard Norberto Davidds-Garrido, Lane and guard Greg Skrepenak. Wide receiver Raghib Ismail was fined $1,000.
Collins was fined for coming to the aid of Garcia, who for a brief period was battling three Raiders before order was restored.
``If Frankie was one-on-one, I don’t know what I would have done,″ Collins said. ``But it was so lopsided.″
No one in the Carolina locker room was talking about appealing the fines, but Lane, a rookie free agent who received a relatively paltry $5,000 signing bonus and is making the league’s minimum salary of $131,000, was particularly upset. The fine came one day after the NFL named Lane the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
``Taking my money,″ Lane said, shaking his head. ``I don’t have any. That’s like taking it out of a baby’s mouth.″