The National Football League has threatened to strip the Washington Redskins of a draft choice if the stadium announcer at FedEx Field continues to ignore league policy regarding noise during games.
The club was fined $20,000 after its home game on Oct. 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The stadium announcer repeatedly proclaimed, “It’s third down,” as if to encourage crowd noise when the Buccaneers approached the line of scrimmage.
The NFL already has sanctioned the Redskins twice this season for violating its rules of competition and is expected to punish the team again within days.
The rules state that the announcer may not encourage crowd noise after the opposing team has broken its huddle and may not try to drown out the quarterback’s signals with announcements. There is no restriction on spectator noise.
The Redskins were sanctioned for similar violations against another team earlier this season. An NFL official confirmed the third incident but wouldn’t say whether it involved the Carolina Panthers or the Dallas Cowboys. Both teams played at FedEx Field this season, but officials with those teams wouldn’t say whether they filed a complaint with the league.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed that the league will rule by week’s end on infractions the Redskins committed in their game against the Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 15. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue attended that game along with a league observer, who received repeated complaints from Ravens officials during the game about the noise violations and about a pregame announcement they considered derogatory.
Aiello confirmed that Tagliabue can penalize the Redskins a 2001 draft pick for repeated violations of a competition committee rule. However, that extreme penalty is left to the commissioner’s discretion and probably would require the Redskins to commit another infraction. League sources said a late-round pick is the standard penalty.
Ravens vice president Kevin Byrne said his team didn’t formally complain to the NFL after the loss because it would have been considered poor sportsmanship. However, the NFL can act on its own. The Ravens also were upset that their players weren’t introduced before the game or mentioned for big plays as is customary. Three Ravens team buses, including one with owner Art Modell aboard, also were ordered to a far parking lot and charged $120. The Redskins since have refunded the money.
Redskins president Steve Baldacci complained to Jacksonville Jaguars officials at halftime of Washington’s 35-16 victory on Sunday at Alltel Stadium about similar announcements. Baldacci met with the Jaguars employee in the press box to express his concerns.