We’ve had a busy offseason (so I’ll try to keep the examples to a minimum….)
- Ray Rice, the Baltimore Raven RB who put his paws on his then-fiancee, now wife in such a fashion that she was unconscious…and was also captured on hotel security cameras dragging her body out of an elevator without any initiative to get help or find someone for medical reasons….SUSPENDED FOR TWO GAMES.
- Matt Prater, the Denver placekicker with the massive leg who was allegedly drinking beers at home whilst on vacation although he was in the NFL substance abuse program…SUSPENDED FOR FOUR GAMES (although the league wanted to originally ban him for ONE YEAR.)
- LaVon Brazill, a sixth round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts out of Ohio University with 4.48 wheels and a knack for getting deep but was merely fourth on the depth chart and not a household name…SUSPENDED FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR for violating the NFL Policy & Program for Substances of Abuse. (and then waived by the team)
- Josh Gordon, the #1 receiver for the Cleveland Browns who failed a drug test while in the NFL substance abuse policy by .01 of a nanogram after passing SEVENTY drug tests the previous TWO YEARS, SUSPENDED FOR ONE YEAR (after the NFL dragged its feet on handing down said suspension)
- Aldon Smith, the top edge rusher for the San Francisco 49ers who had a DUI, a prior DUI in Florida, a gun case and an incident @ LAX where he yelled out that he had a bomb…SUSPENDED FOR NINE GAMES.
and last but not certainly least…
- Jim Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts who faces four felony counts of possessing a controlled substance and a DWI charge while driving around with $29, 029 in a briefcase & laundry bag and prescription pill bottles containing pills….BANNED SIX GAMES AND FINED 500K.
I’m really not sure how Roger Goodell & friends work out these suspensions but methinks they’ve got some work to do.
To be honest, a lot of these suspensions and year long bans could be cut out entirely, if the league itself cared more about its employees on a personal level.
Aldon Smith and Josh Gordon need therapy or trips to outpatient medical facilities where they can receive treatment for whatever ails them. Does a suspension from the one thing they know how to do best really serve them best?
Does Matt Prater go home and sip on a cool glass of OJ now that he’s been suspended for four games or is he more likely to pick up a 6 pack of his favorite micro brew and sit on his back porch and enjoy himself?
Ray Rice could definitely use some counseling in helping him deal with whatever issues he has with his wife
And I don’t even know where to start with Jim Irsay….he may need the most help out of the six I mentioned.
Thems the rules that the owners put in place so we’ve got to work with what’s on the books.
The heavy hand of NFL justice loves to come down hard on the lesser names and the replaceable parts but if you’ve got some clout in the NFL or are higher up the “food chain” (as in Irsay’s case), that heavy hand becomes a pillowcase full of feathers. You can’t sully the name of the NFL, unless you’ve made the league some considerable amounts of queso.
And that’s ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.
I know it’s hard to expect a billion dollar enterprise to praise or punish people fairly across the board, especially with that detachment from its fan base on a micro level. The owners and Goodell aren’t in the nosebleeds with the working class. They’re in private boxes every Sunday in suits, chowing down on catered grub, in perfect temps and comfortable.
Just so we’re clear on my thoughts on who got what suspension and for how long…
Ray Rice definitely needed more than 2 games. A friggin’ travesty, a mockery, a sham and a shammockery.
Matt Prater, to me, didn’t need to be suspended if the allegations are true. Coming hard after him for beers @ home is preposterous.
LaVon Brazill and Josh Gordon both didn’t deserve a year long ban for a drug that’s now legal in 2 American states. Brazill ‘s deemed expendable because he’s replaceable from a talent standpoint. He’s a short guy who runs very fast but isn’t the best short, fast guy on his own team.
Gordon will be held onto by Cleveland because he possesses what owners love, irreplaceable talent. And Jimmy Haslam can’t let that talent get into the hands of other owners who would stand to profit from said talent.
Aldon Smith needs some time off to deal with whatever demons have infiltrated his life…so another leave of absence may do him some good but because he brought shame to the shield AND earns a ton of green, he’s got to pay for his transgressions.
Irsay, to me, needs to have control of the team handed over to someone who can run things in his stead, while he really cleans himself up. Reliance on prescription drugs as a player is dicey as it is. AN OWNER relying on the heavy stuff that comes from pharmaceutical companies? I couldn’t begin to understand how that would work…like at all…
As fans, we can’t put any stock in the NFL disciplining its own fairly because they don’t have the capability of doing so. There’s too much money in the way.
And keeping all of these people around jams up the pipeline from the NCAA’s to the pros. It’s easier to get some of these so-called knuckleheads out of the league with haste by sending their value spiraling into the sewage system rather than propping them up, supporting them in times of need and offering them whatever’s necessary for them to recover.