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Published on 10/17/2008 at Fri Oct 17 21:48.
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Dre Bly (Getty Images)

Denver Broncos cornerback Dre Bly has been fined $20,000 by the NFL for his comments on the officiating after the team’s 24-17 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars last weekend.

Bly vented his frustration at two questionable calls made by the officials during the game – two calls that turned the tide in the Jaguars’ favor. First, an illegal contact penalty called against Bly in the third quarter raised eyebrows; Bly was tackled by opposing wide receiver Reggie Williams during the play. The third down penalty gave the Jaguars an automatic first down where they should have been forced to punt; the extended drive resulted in a Jaguars touchdown and 14-point lead.

Broncos safety Marlon McCree was later flagged for pass interference while the Jaguars were driving for ball possession and the win late in the fourth quarter. Replays clearly showed there was no foul on the play. The Jaguars would hold on to win by one score.

Bly suggested that the refs were harsh on the Broncos in response to questionable calls made in the Broncos’ favor in previous outings – “ref karma,” if you will. His sentiments were echoed by Broncos fans everywhere.

“I guess they’ve been evaluating us and say we won games we shouldn’t have won. So, I guess they’re going to get a call against us,” Bly said of referee Bill Carollo‘s officiating crew.

Bly says he plans to appeal the fine.

Those calls were bogus, there’s no denying it. Bly made it clear in later statements that everyone needs to just move on from this, and that’s what we intend to do – after this one last parting shot. Your crew were inventing penalties out there, Carollo – you know it, anyone who saw those plays knows it, and you shouldn’t be able to hide from it. Consider yourself lucky that the context of the Broncos-referee situation gives you guys a pass by the mainstream media. Broncos fans aren’t forgetting. If these calls had gotten the attention they deserved, you would be the one answering thousands of angry emails.

  • BroncoFan18

    Will someone explain to me why players get fined for complaining about the refs? I’ve never understood that. I mean, it’s like getting fined for complaining about the government. I don’t get it? Aren’t they allowed to say what they think? I didn’t see anyone get fined for complaining about Hochuli’s call. And that one was just as outrageous as the two penalties called in this game. WHY AREN’T THE REFS HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE CALLS THEY MAKE? Let the players say what they want. If the player is wrong then the player is wrong, end of story. There’s no reason to fine them! It just absolutely wrong that players and coaches can’t voice their opinions about a call they think was wrong. The refs need to actually stand up and take responsibility for the calls they make!

    The refs are a check on the game, but who is a check on the refs?

  • Kyle

    In this system, the fans and the media are the check on the refs. Is that good enough? It seems not. This year has had more ref drama than I care to stomach in THREE seasons.

    I think, though, that if the coaches and players were allowed to criticize the refs, that’s pretty much all we’d hear about in every post game conference from now on. And no one wants that.

  • kerry

    yeah lets not go on and on about the refs. we all knew that the refs would screw us on calls due to the win against San Diego. if we keep talking about the refs then we will be just like Chargers fans. and the only thing worse then that is a Raiders fan.

  • mikepenn

    Bly works for an employer that is governed by NFL rules; so let’s not confuse “Freedom of Speech” with “Freedom from consequences”. Nobody is putting Bly in jail for saying this; however, fining him $20K is similar in punishment to firing a guy who tells his boss he’s an idiot. I see nothing wrong with either one; if NFL players make public statements about NFL refs, they should be man-enough to deal with the consequences.

  • Awesome, Austin

    I don’t know that those comments were worth 20K. I understand trying to keep those comments a little lower key to limit constant boring complaining, but after the Chargers game it seemed like every guy and the coach were asking for Hoc’s head and there were no fines at all. (maybe because Hoc was man enough to say he was wrong, then the league allows everyone to bash him).

  • Jason

    Certainly the media has some ability to criticize the officiating but those aren’t stories that sell. However, the coaches do have the opportunity to grade each game’s officiating. This is these are the deciding factors upon post season work or even continued employment. Furthermore, many plays that coaches can see are obvious on tape and in plain sight of a ref will send footage of to the NFL.

    There is more accountability than there seems but I would be the last to argue against Dre’s statement. The obviously blown calls were more than a little disturbing.

    It’s bad enough when we had to play against ourselves, refs and Jags all in the same game. The momentum was in our favor and the refs gave the Jags at least as many points as we did.

    The loss to the Chiefs: our asses were handed to us and by the end of the game I felt good about it. Not the loss but the lesson. I still haven’t gotten over the bitter feeling of last week though.

    … hoping to get over it soon…

  • Kansas

    Bly should worry about his piss poor play and not the refs.

  • shannon

    Last season was full of bad referees, and I think their needs to be a stop to that. A sulution is to have every referee do a drug test, maybe a lie detector test, and investigate why they make up penaltys that dont make sense.