Florio Responds To Ronde Barber’s Response

December 20th, 2012

The great Mike Florio

Consider it a promise.

Earlier this week, Mike Florio, the creator, curator and overall guru of ProFootballTalk.com had a “private communication” with a Bucs player in the waning hours after the shutout debacle in New Orleans where some player, who refused to be identified, claimed the Bucs college coaches should go back to college.

Yesterday, Woody Cummings of the Tampa Tribune asked Bucs great Ronde Barber about Florio’s report and Barber dropped a naughty word he was so adamant Florio’s report was fabricated.

Not so fast, says Florio, who responded to Barber’s response last night.

I promise you that someone did, Ronde.

Who’s in a position to be more sure? The guy to whom it was told, or the guy who has no idea what his teammates have said in the hours after a frustrating shutout loss to one of their biggest rivals? That’s why we opted not to go with the same-old “we stand by our report” when asked for a response by the Tribune, choosing instead something far more pragmatic: “If Ronde is aware of every private communication in which his 52 teammates engage, that’s even more impressive than his Hall of Fame playing career.”

Our guess is that Ronde opted to react strongly due to speculation in the local media that he was the source. As his career in Tampa likely winds to a conclusion, it wouldn’t be the ideal way to make his exit. Regardless, we won’t say who said it. But I promise you that someone did.

As Joe wrote last night, Florio works for himself and NBC Sports, and that outfit frowns heavily on somebody inventing a quote. Florio’s a smart guy. He knows all too well his empire would quickly crumble (as well as his NBC contract, as well as possibly his law career) if he started manufacturing quotes just for a few clicks on his site.

48 Responses to “Florio Responds To Ronde Barber’s Response”

  1. snook Says:

    So its ok for Florio to use anonymous sources for a story but you bash Pewter Report for doing it. Right.

  2. buccanay Says:

    A shame you’ve sunk to this level.

  3. Meh Says:

    I believe Florio on this. His reputation is excellent. He has little to gain from faking a quote and everything to lose. He gets plenty of readers without making stuff up.

  4. Kirk Says:

    Mike Florio is quickly losing his credibility and is bowing down to his sponsors to bring in more and more crap to the table. You Joe, seem to falling into the same pit. The more sponsors you have, the less interesting you have become. Your site is quickly becoming very pedestrian. I wish for days gone by when you were writing very interesting articles. Now Joe, not so much. Too bad, another site going stale for the sake of a dollar.

  5. OAR Says:

    So let me get this straight, you guys are arguing over a statement that might have been said or not by ONE F’n player?
    You guys crack me up! One player thinks the coaches should go back to the college level, and it’s end of days around here!
    If it was a group or the whole locker room that said it or thought this, then we have problems, but come on, one player?

  6. snook Says:

    So Florio is saying this player said this quote to him? By what? Text? This story is such garbage. Florio built his site on crap like this. It only continues. Anyone remember the “Terry Bradshaw dead?” Florio is a scumbag lawyer and the only reason Joe is agreeing with him is because Florio references his site from time to time.

  7. OAR Says:

    True or not, I’ve had better contemplations on the toilet!

  8. Jonny 3.3 Says:

    When someone like Florio quotes a comment made by a player that wants to remain anonymous, Florio still has to show the proof to his superiors to validate the genuineness of what he is quoting. So yeah, it is very much possible that someone did say it.

  9. That Guy Says:

    Did you guys hear that Terry Bradshaw was killed in a car accident? I read all about it on Mike Florio’s site! He’d never get anything wrong or troll his readers, amirite? Plus, he’s a lawyer–those guys are completely trustworthy!

  10. Ian's Gay Lisp & Ron's Drinking Problem Says:

    Mike Florio & Mike Lupica were separated at birth. I just wanna know who would win in a Hair-Pulling, Slap-Fight, Whine-Fest

  11. Kevin Says:

    Florio is an attorney he wouldn’t lie… Ronde is just a pillar of the Tampa Bay community, has never embarrassed himself or his team, dating back to his days as an unknown rookie. Oh, and he just happens to spend everyday of his working life with those 51 other guys. I don’t k ow about you Tampa Bay, but I’m raising an eyebrow at Florio and I’m standing next to Ronde on this one.

  12. That Guy Says:

    ” He knows all to well his empire would quickly crumble (as well as his NBC contract, as well as possibly his law career) if he started manufacturing quotes just for a few clicks on his site.”

    Like the time Florio reported that Keyshawn Johnson called Joe Flacco “a bum” and later admitted he’d made it up?

  13. Joe Says:

    @snook – Joe frowns on the use anonymous sources. Joe’s made that clear many times. HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean Joe thinks all of those anonymous sources are BS and lies. Don’t confuse the two concepts.

    Second, it’s got to be roughly a couple of years since Joe’s been critical of Pewter Report’s use of anonymous sources.

  14. Joe Says:

    @Kirk — The FACT is Joe writes more and more content every year and Joe hasn’t wavered from writing about what Joe finds interesting. So to say Joe has changed because Joe has more advertising revenue is really way off base.

  15. Joe Says:

    @Buccanay — “A shame Joe’s sunk to this level.”

    What level? Florio is a national personality on Sunday Night Football and runs the most popular NFL site around. If he’s going to get after it with Ronde Barber, then Joe’s going to write about it. Joe’s ALWAYS written about such things.

  16. Kirk Says:

    Joe…I disagree. What Joe may find interesting, is quickly becoming less interesting to his many readers. You still have an above average site, but why stake what was a very good reputation on some tool like Mike Florio?

  17. Joe Says:

    Kirk, what are you not seeing on JoeBucsFan.com that you saw in past years?

    Also, Joe’s not questioning Barber’s credibility, merely offering an informed opinion on Florio’s.

  18. Joe Says:

    Also, Kirk, as for what’s interesting to Joe’s readers, Joe appreciates your opinion, but Joe’s readership grows constantly, and the traffic data shows that readers come more often than they did in past years. The “typical” reader here comes about 15% more often in 2012 than they did in 2011. So Joe can’t agree that readers are collectively losing interest.

  19. Pic Jordan Says:

    Joe: Get the story straight. Florio was in New York doing his NBC Sunday Night Football gig. The original blog post only said that the player’s comment was made privately, not personally to Florio.

    “Can we send these coaches back to college?” one player privately said after the game.

    That means Florio is hiding two sources, the player and the person that was actually in New Orleans that informed him of the comment. Wouldn’t be ironic if the player’s comment was taken out of context in discussing Fleck’s move back to the college ranks?\

    @Pic Jordan – You get it straight. “Privately” doesn’t imply or mean that a player wasn’t using a phone. Don’t make stuff up. Also, after the game offers no timetable other than “after the game.” –Joe

  20. Macabee Says:


    Square this up for us. Florio’s headline says – Bucs players grumbling about “college” coaches.

    If Bucs players (plural) are grumbling about college coaches, that is significant and worthy of concern as collectively a team on the verge of mutiny.

    That is far different and quite insignificant from a single disgruntled player who may be a player of no significance and disgruntled for any number of reasons. Florio’s response to Barber implies that it was indeed a single player (someone) that requested anonymity or Florio has no duty to keep his name a secret.

    What say you, Joe?

  21. Vic Says:

    Joe, I appreciate your passion and how you write to please yourself. It works.

    Why do so many people consider Ronde Barber a pillar of the community. Is anyone aware of what, if anything, Barber actually does in the community???
    Outside of playing in some charity golf tournaments, the guy is pretty darn invisible.

    That’s his right, but don’t go calling him some sort of community hero

  22. RustyRhino Says:

    There are always personal differences in, who said, they said, I said, you said. It would be a shame to worry about it now. I do not really care if it was said, but by who… Who on this NFL team one or the “youngest” in the NFL. Wants to have their coach or coaches go back to the college level. This same level most of this NFL team is not far removed from. I do understand this is now your livelihood, your a pro NFL player. As Jerry Glanville called it NFL= Not For Long
    Either you lead or follow or get out of the way…
    “Talk don’t cook rice”

  23. thegregwitul Says:

    This is the problem, Joe; Florio posts a story claiming a single player was frustrated and said the coaching staff should go back to college. The posted story is the ‘spark’ and the local media helps to ignite that spark and cause a fire. Ronde Barber, one of the leaders of this football team, a seasoned veteran and a class act advises the media in no uncertain terms that Florio’s story is BS.

    Now, this isn’t really about Florio’s story being accurate or not. I don’t doubt that a single player, in the heat of the moment after such a humiliating loss, coming off another rough loss the week prior and another week of tough practice, spouted off about the staff going back to college. The problem is that we don’t know who made the comment, and while we likely will never know, I think Ronde spoke up in an attempt to put out the fire and continue the show of unity that other players displayed in defending Josh Freeman this week.

    All I know if the player that said the comment wasn’t Ronde Barber, which means this one player doesn’t carry the same stature as Barber, doesn’t hold the same influence and likely isn’t leadership material. Mike Florio likely heard a comment from a backup player who is frustrated (and likely has been all season) and is making a mountain out of a mole hill.

    I’m glad Ronde Barber spoke up, and Mike Florio shouldn’t have run the story. Look, we’ll never mistaken the man for Edward Murrow, one look at PFT last night had back to back stories that essentially contradicted themselves regarding Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets, but Florio should know better, this story and the rather snide remarks posted after continue to advance a story that Florio essentially created out of thin air, and reeks of his older ‘Terry Bradshaw is dead’ days of posting anything and everything. I expect better from Florio as this point in time.

  24. Macabee Says:


    will you allow my comment to be printed? It meets all the obligations of the website.

    Macabee – The comment is there. Occasionally there is a tiny delay. –Joe

  25. BKNYfootballhead Says:

    “Second, it’s got to be roughly a couple of years since Joe’s been critical of Pewter Report’s use of anonymous sources.”

    I believe I recall a few jabs at Mark Cook on his anonymous source regarding Talib being traded.

    Maybe I’m wrong

  26. lightningbuc Says:

    PFT is the TMZ of the NFL!!!

  27. Kirk Says:

    Joe, keep reading the comments on this article. Yes, readership most likely is rising. What other site dedicates itself solely to Buccaneer news to the level yours does. The other site in town is losing interest daily. Your site is what’s left. Dude, you got the only watering hole left, so readership would logically grow. Go back to your roots Joe, it was better then. Dump Florio Joe, he is no friend to this area.

  28. TAC Says:

    “Regardless, we won’t say who said it. But I promise you that someone did.”

    And that is the problem, no accountability of the weak anymouse player, and no doubt in his own mind accountability to the team. A real reporter would have reported the source, and given us all the correct picture, or not reported this at all. People do speculate as to who it was, and I did as well, but did not write it due to the unfairness of the report. No I did not think it was Ronde, and it is found out that it was not who I speculated either, due to the real men of the team putting their names to reports.

    I guess that is what the TMZ type blogs want, but don’t understand their credibility is lost along with the anymouse.

    I’ve known for a few years the respect you give this Florio drama queen, and his importance to you is apparent as some sort of mentor for a website, but hope you stick with principles of journalism. Anymouse is not a credible source, which makes Florio a weak ass bitch with no credibility.

  29. Joe Says:

    @thegregwitful – First, every media outlet makes mistakes, as was the case with the famous Bradshaw is dead stuff from Florio. A local TV station in Tampa reported that Lee Roy Selmon was dead when it wasn’t. The Tampa Tribune ran with a story that the Bucs traded for Brett Favre, when that didn’t happen. Mistakes happen and are a completely different situation than this anonymous quote regarding the Bucs.

    Second, you’re assuming the quoted player was a backup. If Joe were assuming, Joe would guess the exact opposite; it would be a player that Florio would have a phone number for, and keep in mind he works with Tony Dungy and Peter King on Sunday nights.

  30. OAR Says:

    Florio’s best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this girl who’s going with this guy who over heard a Buc’s player mumbling at a urinal after the game. He had a jersey on, so he had to be a player.

  31. Joe Says:

    @Macabee — The use of plural in the first PFT headline isn’t backed up in the story, meaning there’s no reference to multiple players. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t more, unpublished comments, that would back that up.

    Regardless, Joe can’t speak to the headline beyond that.

  32. thegregwitul Says:

    @Joe; Yes, I am aware of the conflicting Selmon death reports, which was tough to read, especially when he seemed to pull through for a bit. The Bradshaw remark was more to highlight the early years of PFT, which was more likely to report on any rumor under the sun as opposed to taking the time to check into the details of the source. Granted, the site was also being operated by one or two people back then, but the way the Buc story was reported just left a bad taste in my mouth.

    I think the biggest issue (outside of the source being anonymous) is the lack of substance. Florio has posted some great stories, and his legal knowledge proved to be insightful during the lockout, but this story basically begins and ends with the ‘Go back to college’ insult. I would put more stock in Florio’s story if his source discussed an internal fracture within the walls of One Buc, if the source stated that a growing number of players were frustrated with the coaching staff, but instead it’s just one player who reacted poorly after a pitiful showing against a division rival. Mike Florio should have reached out to the player to get more information, perhaps a day or two after the loss so emotions could cool down, so that way he could build a better story with far more substance as opposed to one player who was likely emotional and embarrassed after getting throttled by the Saints.

  33. Joe Says:


    If Bucs players (plural) are grumbling about college coaches, that is significant and worthy of concern as collectively a team on the verge of mutiny.

    Agree. That’s why Joe wrote about this extensively early in the week.

  34. Joe Says:


    Joe, I appreciate your passion and how you write to please yourself. It works.

    Thanks Vic. That actually sounds kinda kinky. Might have to write a story about Rachel Watson.

  35. Eric Says:

    I have a feeling whoever said it is not going to reveal himself now!

  36. Macabee Says:

    Agree with you 100% Joe. There is no evidence in the original Florio piece or otherwise implied in his response to Ronde that there was ever anybody but one person that allegedly made this statement. Even as you suggest that there may have been other comments made, those are not facts in evidence and would be unfair to the body of players if that was assumed.

    As you agree, this would have been a significant issue if this was the sentiment of multiple players, since there is no material evidence, either real or implied, there is no reason to doubt Florio’s veracity on the matter, but that it amounts to literally hearsay from a single player and by definition doesn’t matter.

    We should move on!

  37. Capt. Tim Says:

    An anonymous friend said he overheard Florio laughing , saying he was going to make up a quote- then pin it on Ronde.
    My source is far more reliable than a lawyer

  38. Capt. Tim Says:

    Or a journalist

  39. Brad Says:

    When you start to become the news instead of reporting on it the end is near. See the ESPN dude about RG3. Floria better consider this a wake up call. A person who single handily is trying to create kaos on my
    team doesn’t deserve any respect. If such a comment was made by a single player then keep it too yourself. That’s reckless reporting IMO. Now if he starts to hear the same thing from multiple players then its a story, otherwise its careless.

  40. PRBucFan Says:

    Bahahahahahah OAR that was funny stuff

  41. Fear The Glow Says:

    I’d bet it was Hayward. Florio probably contacted him about that scuffle and he was still pissed.

  42. Dylan Says:

    I’m a Buc for life. I believe the legend and first ballot hall of famer. My boy ronde. Just like If brooks or sapp dis agreed, I’m always gonna take there side regardless. #GoBucs #Florio is a fool #Unamious? State the name otherwise shut up !

  43. SilenceTheCritics Says:

    I don’t think theres anything wrong with Joe posting this article. It’s a blog and he simply was giving his opinion. With that being said I think this kind of stuff is completely distasteful and cowardly and should not be allowed. Theoretically you can say someone said anything about anything citing an anonymous source and it would be impossible to prove or disprove. Just because you don’t think he would make stuff up does not mean he actually didn’t make it up. This kind of reporting is gutless and cowardly by both the reporter and the player (if there actually was one who said this).

  44. chipbuc Says:

    Mike Florio is a self serving A HOLE!!!!!!!

  45. Jnalaska Says:

    I have had email conversations with Florio personally and I have found him to be extremely rude. He couldn’t careless about his readers distress when I checked out his football site to find personal political opinions that are offensive. His response was mocking and rude and he knew it. I emailed him back to say I am never viewing his site again and I get another extremely rude childish response, that was ended with “Bye Bye Bye”. Hard to trust a man that can’t treat a customer with respect. Character goes a long long way when trying to determine ones honestly level. Now lets look at Barber for a minute? Enough said, case closed

  46. Msfarm Says:

    WHO CARES!! When you Lose games coaches, players, fans, and the media are going to say things. Players were upset and rightfully so. They Stunk! but it comes down to the maturity of people. How do you respond? ONe player said something about his coach and obviously didn’t want his name out there. So he is upset at a coach??really is this the first time ever they a buccaneer player or any player said that in the NFL? NO! Also this shouldn’t even be a story but people love to bring up drama…Well if the BUCS Win Sunday then this story gone for good….IF they lose im sure there will be more quotes from players that wont share their names…again..Just play football..

  47. dp4life22 Says:

    The nice thing is this ONE player can walk into the coaches office after season and ask for his contract to be terminated since he doesn’t like the coaches way!!!!!

    you played for experience last year and you sucked!!

    just dont go to the seahawks or 49’s cause they do things the college way also and you see where they are at.

  48. Jose Says:

    @Joe Mike Florio is no diferent that Shawn King, they are both Buccaneer bashers, you need to stay away from them Joe. We have enough with all the negativity here in Tampa. with all the fair wether fans that the Bucs have. We win (we love the Bucs) we lose (we hate the Bucs) is just plain sad, even Eagle fans are more supportive of their team that we are down here and that is media included and probably the biggest ofender.