NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has made a statement. The commish came down hard on embattled stars Adam “Pacman,” Jones of the Tennessee Titans and Cincinnati Bengals wide-receiver Chris Henry. Jones was suspended for the entire 2007 season and Henry was suspended for the first eight games of the season.The length of the suspensions handed-down by commissioner Goodell were unprecedented for off-the-field conduct not involving a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. Henry received the lesser of the suspensions for his four arrests in only 14 months. Henry’s charges include possession of a concealed firearm, aggravated assault with a firearm, DUI and providing alcohol to minors. Jones was suspended for having at least 10 run-ins with the law in just two short years in the league. The final straw for Jones may have come last month when Las Vegas Police recommended both felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from an altercation at a Las Vegas strip club that lead to a fight and a shooting that left one man paralyzed. Goodell’s message was loud and clear and the suspended players now know that they will receive no slap-on-the-wrist, this was serious. In addition to the suspensions both players will be under strict team and league supervision and must comply with a range of stipulations to “earn,” their reinstatement. The top of the list is that the players get into no further trouble with the law. Goodell made the right call with the suspension, but he went a step further to include the teams themselves to share the responsibility of player’s actions. In a letter released by the NFL to the players Goodell said “Your conduct has brought embarrassment and ridicule upon yourself, your club, and the NFL, and has damaged the reputation of players throughout the league,” “You have engaged in conduct detrimental to the NFL and failed to live up to the standards expected of NFL players. Taken as a whole, this conduct warrants significant sanction,” he said. The suspensions were harsh, but I couldn’t help to wonder if with one minor adjustment, the punishments could have made more of a statement. The one minor adjustment is timing. In the case of the Bengal’s Henry, let him play the first half of the season. Let him suit up and play, suspend him for the second half of the season. Right when the team will need him the most pull him from the lineup. Make Henry watch as his teammates make their playoff run without him. If the team succeeds, he watches them celebrate – suspended. If they fail he has watch it all without being able to make a difference. That will make him think twice before making impaired judgments resulting in more arrests. With the case of the “Pacman,” I think that the league should allow him to practice, attend team meetings but no travel and no games. On Sundays allow Jones to watch the game from home. There is also another point that needs to be addressed with Pacman’s case. Should Vegas’ finest find that there is enough evidence to charge Jones in the shooting case his punishment will need to be re-evaluated. We have to remember that incident left a man paralyzed the result of a severed spinal cord – that man received a life-sentence in a wheel chair and would he be satisfied with Mr. Jones simply out of the league? No, at that point Jones not only gets permanently suspended from the NFL, but should probably be suspended from society as well in the form of a lengthy prison sentence. The unofficial consensus of players around the league is that the punishments were fair and justified. The players that keep themselves out of trouble and represent the league in a positive light are tired of the thug mentality and respect their commissioner’s attempt to clean house and agree – Goodell made a good call. Stick with Wunderdog all season long for winning free nfl picks?
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