November 08, 2009
The artful use of a folded bill can get people past a long line at a club, seated quickly at a restaurant with a 45-minute wait or, as countless detective shows have demonstrated, a good piece of information from a cab driver with a hazy memory. As Chad Ochocinco(notes) found out today, it will not get you a call during an NFL game.
The impish Cincinnati Bengals receiver playfully tried to bribe an NFL official today during his team's game with its division rival, the Baltimore Ravens. With the Cincinnati Bengals up 14-3 in the third quarter, Ochocinco caught a 15-yard Carson Palmer(notes) pass near the sideline. The side judge ruled it a catch, but the Ravens contended that Ochocinco's foot was out of bounds. While the ref was under the hood looking at the replay, Ochocinco borrowed a dollar bill from an assistant and playfully tried to hand the one-spot to another official.
Ochocinco was smiling the entire time and, as you can see above, the official put a stop to the hijinks before they really began. It didn't work, the ref overturned the call on the field and ruled that the pass was incomplete.
You're either going to be in one of two camps with this. Either you think it's hilarious (like me) or you think that the mere appearance of bribery toward officials is uncouth and needs to be dealt with swiftly. Judging by his track record, Roger Goodell will fall firmly in the latter camp. Expect a fine for Ochocinco, even though nobody will seriously think that this was ever meant to be anything but a goof.
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