Rolle throws flag on ref: `Don't call me a boy'

Linesman disrespected him in war of words, veteran says

On the officiating

December 05, 2007|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN REPORTER

The NFL is reviewing "all the [Ravens'] comments regarding the officiating," including Samari Rolle's claim that an official repeatedly called him "boy."

After the Ravens' 27-24, last-minute loss to the New England Patriots, Rolle said head linesman Phil McKinnely used disrespectful language late in the game when the Ravens were arguing a penalty.

"The refs called me a boy. No. 110 [McKinnely] called me a boy," Rolle said in the locker room Monday night. "I will be calling my agent in the morning and sending my complaint. I have a wife and three kids. Don't call me a boy. Don't call me a boy on the field during a game because I said, `You've never played football before.'"

McKinnely, 53, who is black, was an offensive tackle for three NFL teams (the Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Rams and Chicago Bears) in a seven-year career during the 1970s and 1980s. He has been an NFL official since 2002.

McKinnely was not available for comment after the game. Because it was the Ravens players' day off, Rolle could not be reached for further comment. His agent, Lamont Smith, did not return phone calls yesterday.

A Ravens spokesman said the team would talk with Rolle before it takes any action. The NFL's review of the situation will likely be headed by Ray Anderson, the league's executive vice president of football operations and coach Brian Billick's former agent.

According to Rolle, the veteran cornerback exchanged words with McKinnely after linebacker Bart Scott was charged with an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty on Jabar Gaffney's game-winning touchdown with 44 seconds left in the game.

Scott was flagged for a second personal foul after he picked up the official's flag in the end zone and threw it into the stands - which was his way of venting frustration over McKinnely's interaction with Rolle.

"He was just standing over Samari in an imposing fashion and was just going off on him," Scott said. "At this point, the game was over with. ... He was talking a lot of stuff about being a man. What does that mean? I said, `Have some integrity.' ... He's the figure of justice out there. So why wouldn't he be the bigger man and walk away?"

Scott said the tension began when Scott brushed McKinnely while trying to demonstrate a tactic in which he said Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson would burrow his shoulder into a defender's chest to either create separation or try to draw a holding penalty.

Scott said McKinnely ordered the linebacker not to touch him and became very defensive.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Edward Lee contributed to this article.

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