Ochocinco fined; conduct 'unbecoming'
Chad Ochocinco has been fined $20,000 by the NFL for flashing a dollar bill at an official during a replay challenge -- a joking attempt at what the Bengals receiver referred to as a "bribe" -- in last Sunday's Cincinnati-Baltimore game.
In the third quarter of the Bengals' eventual victory, Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer completed a 15-yard pass to Ochocinco. Baltimore challenged the call, contending that he was out of bounds, and the Ravens won the challenge.
While the play was under review, Ochocinco held a $1 bill at his side. The official appeared aware of his antic and waved him off.
"I was just being me," Ochocinco told the NFL Network after the game. "I wasn't going to do it for real."
According to a league spokesman, Ray Anderson, the league's executive vice president of football operations, fined Ochocinco for violating a rule that "prohibits use of abusive, threatening or insulting language or gestures toward game officials. He was also in violation of Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 (f) of the Playing Rules which prohibits possession or use of extraneous objects that are not part of the uniform during the game on the field or sideline."
The NFL also cited Ochocinco using the word "bribe" in his postgame comments to reporters.
"You don't mess around with the integrity of the game," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Friday. "It's not a matter for jokes. Chad crossed a line there, and I told him he has to understand that. I think he does now."
Elaborating on the league's decision, a high-ranking NFL official who requested anonymity told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen that "essentially [in Ochocinco's postgame comment] he made an admission against his own interest. The integrity of the game is critical to us. Making light of bribing and gambling will not be taken lightly. His action in itself merited the fine but he acknowledged by his comments that he knew what he was doing."
The person who handed Ochocinco the dollar bill was an independent contractor hired by CBS to assist with the game's broadcast. A league source said that individual was admonished but would not be prohibited from further working for a network because he was not specifically aware of Ochocinco's stunt.
In a letter to Ochocinco, Anderson said, "The very appearance of impropriety is not acceptable. Your conduct was unprofessional and unbecoming an NFL player."
In response to the fine, Rock Software Inc., the company that made Ochocinco's iPhone application, said it will donate an additional $20,000 in the receiver's name to the Hillview Acres home for abused children in Chino, Calif.
John Shahidi, the company's president and CEO, has assisted the home, and Palmer hosts an annual golf tournament that has raised more than $400,000 for the home.
On his Twitter account Friday morning, Ochocinco continued to poke fun, tweeting: "Barrack I've just been fined again, can we meet to set up a fun rule please. I can't go to mcdonalds for 2 weeks now."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.