Over the last couple of days former Raiders receivers Tim Brown and Jerry Rice put forth a conspiracy theory that head coach Bill Callahan implemented a plan “to sabotage the Super Bowl” following the 2002 season because of his hatred for the Raiders and friendship with Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. Needless to say, Callahan was not happy, and his official statement sounds an awful lot like a legal threat.Here’s the full statement via ProFootballTalk.com…
“There are many people who are disappointed by the outcome of Super Bowl XXXVII, but none more than me…While I fully understand a competitive professional football player’s disappointment when a game’s outcome doesn’t go his team’s way, I am shocked, saddened and outraged by Tim Brown’s allegations and Jerry Rice’s support of those allegations made through various media outlets over the last 20-four hours.
“To leave no doubt, I categorically and unequivocally deny the sum and substance of their allegations. Like every game I ever coached on the professional or collegiate level, I endeavour to the best of my professional ability to position my team to win. To suggest otherwise, especially at this time when it involves the Super Bowl, is ludicrous and defamatory. I have always honored the spirit of competition that drives us to sport as children and, for the lucky few, sustains us in adulthood.
“Any suggestion that I would undermine the integrity of the sport that I love and dedicated my life to, or dishonor the commitment I made to our players, coaches and fans, is flat out wrong. I think it would be in the best interests of all including the game America loves that these allegations be retracted immediately. I want to extend my personal and my family’s deep appreciation to the coaches, players and fans who have come forward and thoughtfully spoken out against these ill-conceived allegations.”
As Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, a lawyer, notes, it is probably not a coincidence that Callahan used the term “defamatory” and asked that the comments be “retracted.” The inclusion of legalese suggests a carefully-worded statement hinting that the next step will be a lawsuit if the wide receivers don’t quickly change their tone.
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