Chicago Bears running back Marion Barber likes to let his play on the field do the talking. But the NFL feels that his personal policy is not as important as maintaining the league's positive media image.
The NFL is about to fine Barber $10,000 if he continues evading the media on Thursday.
Barber, who has replaced the injured Matt Forte the past two games, ran out of bounds with less than two minutes left, saving the Broncos about 35 or more seconds in a close game. That mental gaffe left enough time for Broncos place kicker Matt Prater to drill a game-tying 59-yard field goal to force overtime.
In the overtime period, the Bears were in field-goal range and were fighting for better field position. However, Barber fumbled the ball, as Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard ripped it from his hands. Denver recovered the ball, and Prater nailed a 51-yard field goal to clinch the game.
While Barber only had a 75-second interview during training camp, media members were hoping to get a first hand account for those crucial plays in the game.
However, Barber already split when the reporters entered the Bears' locker room and was nowhere to be found.
Barber's teammates had to speak for him.
Bears wide receiver Devin Hester had this to say about Barber's out-of-bounds play late in the fourth quarter: ‘‘He was just trying to make something happen. I don’t think he did it on purpose," Hester said. ‘‘He was just trying to get extra yards.’’
Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, who doesn't have to be as politically correct as Hester, said of the out-of-bounds gaffe, ‘‘He’s a veteran. He knows better. You can’t do that.’’
Marion's brother, Dominique, is a safety for the Houston Texans and told the Chicago Sun-Times in an interview that Marion is a very private person who believes actions are stronger than words, even dating back to high school.
Barber, though, has to realize while it's one thing to decline interviews when he is doing well, it's another to avoid them when you aren't doing well. He appears to be a coward who hides behind a personal policy and not answer for his mistakes.
The NFL is right in threatening to fine Barber for his behavior. The Bears are paying him $5 million over two years, something that millions of Americans would only dream of.
Part of being an NFL player is facing the music and speaking to the media about your mistakes. Barber needs to man up and talk to the media. Barber might not like the media; but he needs to answer questions to show his respect for the Bears, their fans and the NFL.
Without them, Barber would be making a heck of a lot less money.