NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to establish himself as a law-and-order guy. I get that. He wants to make an example of Pacman Jones and Chris Henry. I get that. So he’s decided to get tougher on NFL players who get in trouble with the law.
Determined to make players and teams more accountable for off-field transgressions, Commissioner Roger Goodell enacted a more punitive conduct policy Tuesday, one that allows the NFL to punish repeat violators even before the legal system does…
The revised policy is broader and will allow for longer suspensions and larger fines for offending players, and the potential for penalties against teams. Although Goodell did not detail team penalties, the league has discussed taking draft picks from clubs that fail to conform.
“We hold ourselves to higher standards of responsible conduct because of what it means to be part of the National Football League,” Goodell said in a release. “We have long had policies and programs designed to encourage responsible behavior, and this policy is a further step in ensuring that everyone who is part of the NFL meets that standard.”
Okay, Commish, answer this one for me. What happens when a crooked cop with a gambling problem decides that the best way to pay off his debt is to pull over an NFL superstar and plant drugs or weapons in his car? What happens when an opportunistic baby’s mama decides to try and frame a key NFL player on a false domestic abuse charge?
What, you think there aren’t people out there thinking about doing something just like this? You think there aren’t people out there who see Goodell’s new get-tough policy as a way to ruin an NFL player’s life, just because they can? Just because some jocks were mean to them in high school? Just because it looks like an easy payoff?
Take a guy like Fred Weary of the Houston Texans, who was pulled over and tasered for nothing more than “Driving While Black.” If that happens to him again, does he get suspended without pay? Take Santonio Holmes, who got caught up in a melanin dragnet in Miami. Those disorderly conduct charges didn’t stick against anybody. Does he still get suspended without pay?
Before this decade is over, a prominent NFL player will get set up for something he didn’t do, and Sheriff Goodell will rush in to suspend that player without pay. Then, when the facts do come out and that player is proven innocent, and everyone realizes he was suspended unfairly and that the suspension might have cost his team a playoff berth… well, let’s just say that the lawyers will be very busy.
This will happen, folks. Remember who told you about it first.