Ryan Clark Subtly Stokes Flames of Steelers-Ravens Rivalry by Saying: “For something to be a rivalry, both teams have to win equallyJuly 13, 2011 – 6:30 am by Michael Bean
As a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I absolutely love the way Ryan Clark has handled himself recently. In the news because of his exchange on Twitter with Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens following Rice’s comments about Hines Ward’s DUI arrest, Clark has come out looking fairly dignified compared to Rice. In the first half of his Tuesday interview on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, the Steelers safety appeared to be disinclined to provide much bulletin board worthy commentary, but just when you thought that the interview would be devoid of any fireworks, Clark subtly takes a major jab at Baltimore, the Steelers primary rival in the AFC North. He said he didn’t really consider the Ravens to be rivals for the simple reason that rivalries usually consist of two teams that have beaten up on each other equally. Clark is correct when he points out that the Ravens have failed to get the best of the Steelers in what many consider to be the league’s premier modern rivalry. Clark is of course wrong in the sense that the two teams have duked it out in countless close affairs in recent memory. Regardless of who has won, it’s impossible to argue that the teams’ meetings haven’t been tightly contested, thrilling affairs between two teams who’ve had legitimate Super Bowl aspirations recently. Clark comes across as cool, calm and collected, and not at all sounding like he’s trying to be confrontational. But that’s just about as big of an indirect slap to the face that a player will give these days when talking about his team’s primary competition. I love it. Get a CBA in place please. I’d hate to see the Week 1 matchup between the Steelers and Ravens be affected in any way. The bad blood will be as thick and demonstrable as ever whenever it is that the AFC North foes next meet. Believe that.
Clark joined 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh to talk about his recent Twitter spat with Ray Rice, why he felt compelled to react to Rice’s comments about Hines Ward’s recent DUI arrest, if he’s enjoyed or lamented the wave of media attention the story has received since the incident, why he thinks the Steelers-Ravens is overstated by fans, how the Ravens need to beat the Steelers more frequently in order for it to be a true rivalry in his opinion, and how the rookie wage scale is not the only issue that’s kept a new CBA from being reached by now.
On his recent Twitter spat with Ray Rice and what bothered him about Rice’s comments concerning Hines Ward’s DUI:
“Well I think first of all, it’s not really a situation to where it bothered me in the sense that what he said was really bad. I think more than anything it was disrespectful. As players we should all be a fraternity of brothers, and what I mean by that is if you have nothing good to say about something, why comment on it? I mean, and that was my only thing. And even in that, all I said was I’m glad you weighed in with what you think. Then he kind of took a life of his own. He was saying some other stuff and where to find me, some things that are really just whatever to me. So I just tried to kind of take the high road with it. But the biggest thing to me is people make mistakes, and to be judged by your peers, and to judge someone or one of your peers is not really your job. It’s not why we’re here, that’s for other people to do, so I just felt it was kind of tasteless for him to do so.”
If he’s had a chance to speak to Hines Ward and if not, what he’d say to him the next time they speak:
“Nothing. Nothing at all. He’s an adult, he’s what I believe is a very good man and I don’t know the details of the night, there’s so many different things coming out. So if he were to come to me and bring up the subject, I wouldn’t broach it at all. I think the one thing I know I don’t like that sometimes people do is when you know you’ve made a mistake, nobody feels worse about it than you do. You know you’ve put yourself in a position whether you’re right or wrong, nobody understands it better than you do. So he doesn’t need me to come up to him and talk about the situation. I did what I had to do in a situation where I felt like here was somebody who was disrespecting and was kind of poking his nose into his business when it was unnecessary. But as far as that, it’s over, it’s behind us.”
Whether he enjoys receiving all the attention in the wake of an incident like this, or if he’d just as well not be bothered by follow up questions and all the attention that piles on afterwards:
“Well you know, I haven’t really paid attention to the whole thing very much. It’s not a big deal. I mean, people talk about because it’s the lockout and there’s nothing else to talk about. People try to make this game between the Ravens and the Steelers as so much of a rivalry, a fight. You can say it’s a rivalry if you like, but I really truly feel that for a game to be a rivalry, it doesn’t have to just be physical. I think for something to be a rivalry, both teams have to win equally. I think just the hate between the fans doesn’t make a situation a rivalry. I think in college it does, but in the league teams have to win equally, and that really hasn’t been the case in our situation. So I think people just made it a bigger deal than what it was supposed to be. So I really didn’t pay attention to it. I got tweeted tons about it. So many Ravens fans tweeting me about it; so many Steelers fans tweeting me their support. But that really wasn’t what it was about. Like I said, I just think it was kind of tasteless for him to say that and it needed to be addressed. But I didn’t want to address it in a negative manner. It kind of turned negative after his comment back to me, but all I said at first was ‘glad you could weigh in’ and that was it.”
On the reports floating out there that the rookie wage scale was more or less the last thing holding up a new CBA being reached and implemented:
“If that was the only issue, we’d have a deal done today. I can say that. There’s still a lot of things. When I say a lot of things, I don’t want it to be like ‘Ryan Clark said it’s not even close.’ We’re definitely closer today than we ever have been. We’re definitely working hard — owners and players a like — to get a deal done together. And we are close if you are looking it at relatively to where we’ve came from. But that’s clearly not the only issue. There’s still things to be ironed out on both sides, and I think we’ll continue to be working towards that. I think, you know, the Adam Schefter’s and the Chris Mortensen’s, they have to report something, they have to try to figure out what’s going on, and they have different sources to lean on and go with. But that’s not the only issue we have at hand, it’s not the only thing we’re trying to work out. But we are working and I think that a deal will get done. Is there a date? I’m not necessarily sure. It could be tomorrow. It could be two weeks from now. But I am confident we will have football.”