The Oakland Raiders will travel to Arrowhead Stadium this weekend to take on the Kansas City Chiefs. As there always is before a rivalry game like this, players are talking a little too much about their upcoming game. This time though, the criticism is a little odd considering the source. We have all been very aware of the Kevin Gilbride, Jim Harbaugh mud throwing that went on a few weeks ago. Heck, even Cheat Carroll got in the mix and started complaining about what Harbaugh said after the San Francisco 49ers game against the Seattle Seahawks.
This time, rather than a coach trying to influence the refs, it was a player on the Chiefs, Tamba Hali. Now, it is not out of the ordinary for a player to accuse an opponent, especially a rival, of cheating. In fact, it happens all of the time, and most people just shrug it off as being part of the game. But personally, I have a hard time with hypocracy and Tamba Hali is a hypocrite after he accused the Raiders of being a dirty team.
First and foremost, Hali was suspended for a game this season by the NFL for violating the substance abuse policy. It is not clear what Hali took to get suspended, so I cannot claim that he necessarily took performance enhancing drugs as opposed to experience enhancing drugs (think Ricky Williams). But regardless of what substance Hali took, it was obviously a violation of NFL rules. That makes him a cheater, regardless of what you think about the substance abuse policy of the NFL. And for those who would argue that smokin a little Ricky lettuce isn't going to impact how he plays, consider this, MANY doctors believe that marijuana should be prescribed as a pain killer. So when other players are struggling on Monday morning to even get out of bed because of the aches and pains, does someone who makes use of marijuana to alleviate that pain not have an advantage over those who do not? It's not a huge advantage by any means, but it is still using a banned substance to your advantage.
Finally, and this part drives me nuts, Hali refuses to point to anyone or anything to support his claim, except for the number of flags thrown on the Raiders over the years. At least Kevin Gilbride had the juevos to state exactly what it was about Justin Smith's play that made him a cheater. Additionally, the whole pointing to flags is a cheap way of asserting the Raiders play dirty. A vast majority of flags thrown on the Raiders are for stupid, mental mistakes. False starts, off sides, too many men on the field, illegal substitution, pass interference, holding, etc. EVERY TEAM IN THE NFL GETS THESE TYPES OF PENALTIES THROWN ON THEM. Committing those penalties does not make someone a dirty player. Cheap shots are what make a player dirty, not judgment penalties that occur all of the time, in every game, by every team.
Hali is obviously just trying to get in the heads of the Raiders and the refs ahead of their game this weekend, but he is making himself look rather stupid in doing so. If you're going to provide a team with black board material, at least try to make it sound realistic and try not to do it after you've been suspended by the league.