Nobody knows what the penalties for different offenses will be, even apparently NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Reportedly, Goodell was prepared to give Pacman Jones a six month suspension but increased it to an entire year when he heard that Jones had visited a strip club in New York the night before he was set to meet the commish. So basically, Jones' offenses were worth six months, except when they are worth a year long suspension because Jones was an idiot and went to what turned out to be the most expensive strip club ever.
Before the new NFL personal conduct policy, usually if players got sideways with the law, discipline was tabled until after the legal process finished with it. And the problem most people had with that is that usually legal stuff goes pretty slowly, and this meant that a player that did something pretty bad could still be wearing a uniform with nothing happening to him. The news coverage and commissioner actions relating to those events was usually tabled a bit too.
But have you noticed that since the policy, every bad thing an NFL player does seems to have little extra scrutiny whether or not they are arrested? If a player does something bad, fans and opposing fans wonder if, when and how much Goodell will bring down the hammer. The new policy has been called the "Pacman Jones Rule," but I'm sure most of the discipline cases that Goodell sees aren't going to be anything like Jones' situation.
Not only is there extra scrutiny, but if just a player arrest can lead to discipline against that player, local prosecutors and police are going to feel extra pressure to not to arrest somebody or at least to make sure they are pretty certain of the charges. Is the NFL's policy deterring player arrests? The Mike Vick dogfighting situation is the obvious example of that, but that might just be the beginning.
For example, reports suggest that Texans offensive lineman, Fred Weary is currently under investigation for assaulting his wife at a swingers bar. In talking to a Houston based criminal defense attorney, I was told that it is very unusual for HPD to come to a fight scene not arrest someone immediately and then let the court system sort it out. Either the case against Weary is very very weak, or that Weary was receiving special treatment when he wasn't arrested right away.
Ultimately, at least in the short term, it seems as though the NFL personal conduct policy designed to get players to stop damaging the NFL's reputation may actually be bringing more attention to player's misdeeds. What say you?
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