Jaguars Make A Statement With Suspensions of Fowler, Ramsey
The Jacksonville Jaguars made a statement on Sunday after the organization suspended both defensive end Dante Fowler and cornerback Jalen Ramsey for “violating team rules and conduct unbecoming of a Jaguars football player.”
The Jacksonville Jaguars have suspended both Dante Fowler and Jalen Ramsey for their actions that were part of a post-practice altercation. While Fowler was given a one-week suspension by the team for his direct involvement in an incident with fellow defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, the suspension handed down to Ramsey was because of comments he made through his Twitter account that were directed a local media member who caught the whole incident on video.
The Jaguars released a statement Sunday afternoon.
Let me start out by saying I was not at the Jacksonville Jaguars training camp on Sunday morning, nor was I there to witness the incident first hand. But as a training camp practices go, from experience, a scuffle or two are bound to happen when players are running drills and working on blocking schemes in 90-plus degree weather.
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This year, it happened and involved three of the bigger names on the Jaguars roster. The suspensions handed down were a direct result of their actions. And by doing so, the team sent a statement to the players and the fans this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.
"Per Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com, “Fowler got into an altercation with Yannick Ngakoue shortly after practice ended and the two players twice had to be separated by fellow defensive ends Calais Campbell and Carroll Phillips and defensive tackle Abry Jones. No punches were thrown.“Fowler and Ngakoue left the field surrounded by teammates, but the argument flared again moments later on the outside walkway leading to the entrance to the locker room inside TIAA Bank Field. The players again had to be separated by teammates.”"
It did not end there as the situation grew with Ramsey interjecting himself into the situation, yelling expletives at a local sports writer to stop videoing the situation. Ramsey, a Pro Bowl and All-Pro cornerback in 2017, took it a step further by calling out the media member on Twitter.
The tweet has since been removed from his account. Ramsey did have a message later after the suspension was handed down.
While social media has blown up across the board for both sides of the issue – supporting the actions of Ramsey and the need to show loyalty to his teammates, there has been support for the sportswriter who was doing his job.
As journalists, we are expected to report the news as it happens and tell the viewing audience the details of when it happened, how it happened and what the consequences are of those actions. And while there were some fans on social media here in Jacksonville calling for there to be changes in the coverage of the Jaguars – which included seeking the Mayor of Jacksonville to get involved to change the media policies of football coverage, there was nothing wrong in how this was handled.
Head coach Doug Marrone sent a clear message on Sunday, pulling the reins in a bit while sending a message to the roster that this is a team that must focus on winning football games, leaving the outside world where it is.
There weren’t any winners in this situation. Fowler, who has had issues with his temper before, is now suspended for a week, will miss the joint practices with the Minnesota Vikings and the second preseason game of the season, which would have been his first.
Fowler is in the final year of his rookie deal. The Jaguars did not pick up his fifth-year option. He needs a huge training camp and even larger regular season to win over the organization.
Fowler will miss the season opener against the New York Giants for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, which stemmed from his July 2017 arrest and subsequent plea deal involving battery, criminal mischief, and petty theft charges.
It was not the only incident Fowler was involved in on Sunday as he and James O’Shaughnessy got into it after the tight end caught a pass and was shoved out of bounds, which led to several Jaguars coming to break up the scuffle.
This is not a good look for the fourth-year first-round draft pick out of Florida.
For Ramsey, this is not as big a deal to miss the game on the road. But it does draw questions about his attitude towards the media and how he handles himself in tense situations.
While the heat of the moment makes athletes react without forethought, it still raises the question of whether and the local media will have a civil relationship.
The real losers in all of this are the 88 players who travel to Minnesota Tuesday afternoon to begin practicing with the Vikings, who are serious Super Bowl contenders. Not lost are the fans, who won’t see either player this coming week.
While many may see this as no big deal and the game may not mean anything in terms of the regular season, it the valuable preparation time each loses and affect their teammates in the process.