Guard Marshal Yanda took to the podium during the Ravens' media availability Wednesday to defend himself. Something he hasn't had to do in his 12 years in the NFL.
After Sunday's 24-21 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, a video on Twitter began making its rounds spurring debate on whether Yanda spit on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
The six-time Pro Bowler strongly denies the accusations.
"Obviously, I was accused of spitting on a player. You know, I take a lot of pride in my character and how I was raised and the things that I do day in and day out," Yanda said.
"I would never, ever spit on another man, another person, individual ever. On the field, off the field, never. I mean, that's not that way I was raised. That's not the way I raise my kids."
In the fourth quarter, Burfict tackled running back Alex Collins and a small scuffled ensued. In the video, you see Yanda standing over Burfict with spit hanging from him. Yanda pushes the spit away and players from both sides continue on with the next play.
"The video shows, I mean some people are taking it crazy, but all I was doing was wiping the spit off my helmet, away from the ground. And I swiped at it to make sure it didn't land on anybody."
Yanda's head coach John Harbaugh and even current and former teammates came to his defense.
"This guy has been playing for how many years? [Twelve] years," Harbaugh said Monday. "He played at the University of Iowa. Have you ever – for whoever wrote the article that makes the insinuation – have you ever heard of Marshal Yanda’s character being attacked or him doing something along those lines ever in his whole career?"
From watching the video, it's obvious Yanda did not spit on anyone. In a game that's filled with large men with adrenaline pumping through their veins, you would think a fight of some sort would have erupted if he did in fact spit on Burfict.
The linebacker, who has a history of starting fights, hasn't even commented on the incident.
The accusation alone is extremely hurtful to the Yanda.
"I don’t know if you guys know, but during the course of a game, I’m like a heavy spitter," Yanda said. "The adrenaline is fired up and I’m spitting all the time – sidelines, on the field, obviously not on anyone, ever – but it’s unfortunate that got twisted and my integrity and then my character is being called into question because that really does matter to me.”
There's been no word on if the league will fine Yanda. The guard said he would deal with that if he has to.
"This is my twelfth year in the league," Yanda added. "If I was a man of that character, that would have come out by now, right? Like if I was that type of guy. It was frustrating to have to deal with that. I mean that made national media attention. I'm up here talking about it right now, which I shouldn't have to be but that's just the world that we live in. It is what it is, but yeah, it's frustrating.”
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