Yesterday, Terry “Tank” Johnson of the Chicago Bears was sentenced to 120 days in jail for violating his probation in a 2005 weapons case. Last December, police raided Johnson’s house and said they found six guns, bullets, and two ounces of marijuana. The NFL allowed Johnson to participate in the Super Bowl two months later. Johnson had to get special permission from a judge to travel to Miami for the game.
Now that the justice system has issued its punishment to Johnson, it’s time to sit back and wait for the NFL and the Bears organization to say a lot of meaningless things and eventually not do a damn thing to him. In fact Johnson’s coach, Lovie Smith, and his teammate Brian Urlacher-one of the most popular players in the league-testified yesterday to what a good guy Johnson is. Would these two have shown up if it were the third string quarterback that was in trouble? Actually, they’d be more likely to show up for their third string quarterback than their starter Rex Grossman, but the fact that the Bears would have been better off in the Super Bowl with Grossman behind bars is another story.
The NFL and its franchises do whatever they can to protect their top players and that’s understandable, to a point. But there’s going to come a time, which may actually be right now, when the league and teams have to start handing out stiff punishments and suspensions for perpetual lawbreakers.