Tampa Bay Buccaneers press conference Jan. 27, 2012. (Greg Schiano)
(USA TODAY) -- Two mischievous 20-year-olds should probably expect a phone call from
NFL security, let alone potential law enforcement, in the very near
The league confirmed that they are looking into a conversation
between Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix and Tampa Bay Buccaneers
general manager Mark Dominik last Friday that was recorded at the time
and appeared on Deadspin Tuesday morning.
"NFL security and our attorneys are looking into it," NFL Sr. VP of Communications Greg Aiello told USA TODAY Sports.
Thursday afternoon, the pranksters called Buffalo's publicly listed
front office phone number. They claimed to be Bucs GM Mark Dominik and
asked to be transferred to Buddy Nix. To their surprise, they were.
Panicking, they hung up as soon as he answered.
Then Buddy Nix called them back.
he kept calling back. Into Thursday evening, resuming again on Friday
morning, Nix's personal number kept lighting up their cell phone. They
ignored it, until they came up with a plan. They would call Mark
Dominik, claim to be Buddy Nix, and send the two on a phantom game of
So they rang up the Buccaneers, but
while on with Dominik's secretary, Buddy Nix called again. It was
perfect. They answered Nix's call, then fell silent while they were
patched through to Dominik. They put the call on speaker, recorded with a
second cell phone, and sat back and listened to the fun.
call lasted about six minutes and after some initial confusion about
wrong numbers, the pair settled in to discuss their own personnel, with
Nix describing some of the team's frustration with the slowed progress
of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
As far as juicy gossip or major
revelations, there really wasn't anything of the sort, just two guys in
the same profession chatting politely about business.
"We are aware of the report on Deadspin involving a phone
conversation with Bills GM Buddy Nix," the Bills said in a statement.
"We have made the league aware of the report and are reviewing it with
The Buccaneers did not respond to a request for comment.
Deadspin didn't say in their report is that what the two 20-year-olds
did is likely highly illegal. While the location of the pranksters has
not been disclosed, we know that Nix was located in New York state while
Dominik was based in Florida.
Florida is one of 12 states to have
adopted a 'two-party consent' law when it comes to recording phone
calls, meaning that every party to a call must know that the
conversation is being recorded, unless there was no expectation of
privacy on the call.
"In Florida, it is a third degree felony so
you are talking about a criminal violation," Jeff Hermes, the Director
of the Digital Media Law Project at Harvard University's Berkman Center
for Internet & Society, said. "The Florida wiretapping law does have
a civil cause of action."
Federal and New York state law
requires "one-party consent," meaning that you can record a conversation
as long as you are a party to that conversation. The pranksters may
have a loophole here in that by Nix calling their number thinking it was
Dominik's, they were technically a party to the conversation.
is a circumstance where there was an affirmative misrepresentation,"
Hermes said. "I'm not entirely sure how that would affect this analysis.
A court could say 'you dialed a number, you didn't know for sure, you
thought it was a person's number due to this person's misrepresentation.
You're responsible for initiating the call and the consequences. If
that results in the person you call starting a recording, that's on
you.' I think it's a stronger argument to say under these circumstances
where the call was initiated as a result of the misrepresentation that
the person doing the misrepresentation shouldn't be treated as the legit
recipient of the call."
If the latter part were to be the case,
violating New York state wiretapping law is punishable as a Class E
felony. Good luck guys.