In the wake of Internet reports that Browns coach Eric Mangini fined a player $1,701 for taking a $3 bottle of water from the team's road hotel in preseason,
Mangini defended his fine system Monday, saying, ''I make no apologies for demanding a high level of personal conduct.''
Mangini would not confirm the latest story from Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports. Profootballtalk.com named strong safety Abram Elam as the offender, but has since removed Elam's name from the item.
Elam seemed surprised when asked about the fine following Sunday's 27-6 loss at Denver.
''Huh? I don't know where that came from,'' Elam said.
But Mangini did not back down from his standards, even if it could erode the players' faith in their new coach.
''I won't talk about the specifics of the fines or who's involved,'' Mangini said. ''I don't like taking players' money, but the rules are in place because we're a very diverse group of people. The rules are set up to make sure we can operate as effectively as possible. They're clearly laid out, they're clearly explained, expectations are explained. I don't ask anybody to do anything that anybody else in society isn't asked to do, that normal, mature people aren't asked to do.
''When we go to hotels, we pay incidentals. We don't park in handicapped spots, we don't park in fire lanes, we don't park in somebody else's spot. I don't think anybody here does and I don't think that the equipment guy deserves any less respect or the secretary deserves any less respect than anybody else in the organization. They may not play on the field, but they have every right to be respected the same way. I believe in that. I believe people should be mature and approach things in a responsible way. And I believe that people in the organization should have that respect from everybody. I'm going to keep believing that, I'm going to keep demanding that we have mature, responsible people as part of the Browns. I make no apologizes for that.''
Mangini knows his demanding rules and fines could cost the Browns' free agents.
''I understand things can be presented in a lot of different ways, but I've clearly articulated to the players why we have rules and regulations,'' Mangini said. ''It's spelled out. There's a grievance system. If they want to grieve it, they have every right to do that. But I also believe that everybody deserves the same respect and everybody should be responsible, just like every other person in society is. They should operate in the same way. I wouldn't want my mother or my sister to come to a place where they were treated any differently. I believe in that.
''I'm not looking for anybody's money and I make no apologies for demanding a high level of personal conduct.''