Ravens Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda vehemently denied spitting at Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, as he’s been accused of doing.
Yanda does not contend that he spit at the end of a scuffle during Sunday's game. The video is clear. But he was not trying to spit on Burfict and said it "100 percent" did not land on the Bengals linebacker.
Yanda addressed the incident with a statement at the start of a press conference Wednesday and took several questions about it.
"I take a lot of pride in my character and how I was raised and the things I do day in and day out. I would never, ever, spit on another man, another person, another individual – ever. On the field, off the field, never. That's not the way I was raised, that's not the way I raise my kids," Yanda said.
"The video shows – some people are taking it crazy – but all I was doing was wiping the spit off my helmet, away from the ground. I swiped at it to make sure that it didn't land on anybody. I don't know if you guys know, but during the course of a game, I'm a heavy spitter. The adrenaline is fired up and I'm spitting all the time – sideline, on the field, obviously not on anyone, ever – but it's unfortunate that got twisted and my integrity and character are being called into question because that really does matter to me."
Here's the video Yanda is referencing:
Burfict has been suspended for flagrantly illegal hits, and has a track record of questionable sportsmanship. He did not react as if Yanda spit on him and has not accused him of such.
"We went about our business," Yanda said. "You would think that there would be an eruption or a fight if that happened."
Yanda first heard about the spitting accusation on Monday morning when he was headed to a charity coat drive. He said he was "blown away."
"That spit hit the ground, 100 percent. It did not hit anybody," Yanda said. "This is my 12th year in the league. If I was a man of that character, that would have come out by now. It was frustrating to have to deal with that. That got national media attention."
What also bothers Yanda is that he doubts that people will see his denial and just remember the accusation.
"That fires me up for sure," he said. "That's my character, that's my integrity, that's everything that I live for day in and day out, as a person, as a father, everything. That's wrong. That's 110 percent wrong.
"The people that know me, that know the man that I am and how I go about my business and how I treat people, know that I would never do that. Anybody that knows me and has been around this building knows that couldn't be further from the person that I am."
Yanda is a physical player who is also one of the league's most respected. A potential future Hall of Famer, he's never once been accused by another player of foul or dirty play.
He said he's not sure whether the NFL will attempt to fine him or not, but will cross that bridge when/if it comes.
"[Spitting on someone] would never be anything that would ever even be fathomed in my mind," Yanda said. "That's not the kind of player I am."