Defending the shield

Boy oh boy did NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell make his point this week about not standing by and letting the behavior of some of the...

Boy oh boy did NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell make his point this week about not standing by and letting the behavior of some of the league’s players tarnish the NFL shield. And he didn’t just make that point to the players. Through the announcement of the new stricter and broader player conduct policy, he made it clear to every NFL franchise that if they didn’t take the necessary steps to reign in and discipline any out of control players, they’d be paying a steep price as well.

This week Goodell suspended, without pay, both Adam "Pacman" Jones of the Tennessee Titans for the entire 2007 NFL season, and Chris Henry of the Cincinnati Bengals for eight games for numerous violations of the NFL's personal conduct policy. Jones, who can apply for reinstatement after 10 games, will lose nearly $1.3 million, and Henry stands to lose over $200,000. It's been reported that Goodell will meet with Tank Johnson of the Chicago Bears once he finishes his prison sentence for a probation violation involving gun charges.

In letters to both players Goodell wrote:
Your conduct has brought embarrassment and ridicule upon yourself, your club, and the NFL, and has damaged the reputation of players throughout the league… I must emphasize that this is your last opportunity to salvage your NFL career.

Despite the fact that I believe this action was a bit overdue, it is extremely appropriate and I think each player got what they deserved. And I especially like that each has to apply for reinstatement after their suspensions have been served.

The NFL is arguable the most important sports league in the country and possibly the world. And it’s refreshing to know that the guy steering that ship understands that what his players do both on and off the field matters to people, and that their actions whether they be during the Super Bowl or outside some strip club during the NBA’s All-Star weekend have repercussions on many lives.

After learning of the suspension Pac Man’s mom was quoted as saying:

I just pray that this can be changed. This is not fair for him. It's just not fair.

To her, all I can say is tell that to the family of the bouncer who will never walk again after getting shot in an incident allegedly involving a member of Jones' entourage. They should be the only ones screaming about what’s not fair, not her. Not when your son has been arrested/questioned by police 10 times since entering the league two years ago.

The commissioner also used this occasion to announce the league’s new broader player conduct policy that will allow longer fines and suspensions for players and potential penalties against teams. What those actual punishments for the teams would be have not yet been decided, but talks of stripping teams of draft picks have been tossed around.

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