Brian Baldinger on NFL Network suspension: 'The punishment doesn't fit the crime'
NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger disagrees with the severity of his punishment for making comments seemingly encouraging placing bounties on players, he told SI's Richard Deitsch for the SI Media Podcast.
Baldinger was suspended for six months without pay for the comments he made on Philadelphia's 97.5 The Fanatic regarding the Eagles' game against the Cowboys.
"This is the guy that we've got to take out of the game," Baldinger said. "There's got ot be 10 guys that want to hurt him every single play. In fact, we may even put a little bounty on Ezekiel Elliott."
Baldinger told Deitsch that the comments were made "in character" as if he were an NFL coach preparing to face the Cowboys and Elliott.
"There is a kind of a tongue-in-cheek element to it," Baldinger said. "I used the words that got me into the firestorm I'm in, but it wasn't really the spirit of, 'Let's go out and knock this guy out of the game. Let's put this guy on a stretcher.' It wasn't anything like that. That wasn't the intent at all. And if it was interpreted like that, that's my fault for leaving it so loose."
Despite admitting that he left the comment too open to incorrect interpretation, Baldinger still didn't think his statement warranted such a severe punishment.
"I think the punishment is far too great. The punishment just doesn't fit the crime. It's far too severe. When i saw that this was blowing up...I honestly thought that I was prepared to make a very honest-felt apology to the NFL, to the Dallas Cowboys, to Ezekiel Elliott. And I was very much prepared to do that in person, to make a public statement, however they wanted me to do it. And I was prepared for maybe a one or two week suspension. That's what I thought the punishment should be. When I saw that it was six months, I was like, they've taken my livelihood away from me.
"It's too harsh for what I said and the spirit that I said it."
Baldinger was previously an NFL offensive lineman and played for both the Cowboys and the Eagles during his career.