A. Jones Suspended Indefinitely
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.--The NFL just announced that Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam Jones has been suspended indefinitely.
He is to miss at least the Cowboys' next four games, according to the league.
Jones was involved in a scuffle with one of his bodyguards last week in a restroom at a Dallas hotel. Police responded to the scene of the incident but no criminal charges were filed.
However, the NFL's personal conduct policy empowers Commissioner Roger Goodell to impose discipline upon a player even if the player is not charged with or convicted of a crime. Goodell suspended Jones for all of last season under the policy while the cornerback was with the Tennessee Titans. Goodell warned Jones when the suspension was issued in April 2007 that Jones was down to his last chance to salvage his NFL career.
Goodell reinstated Jones just before this season, following an offseason trade that sent Jones to the Cowboys.
The NFL indicated that Goodell will determine the length of this suspension following the Cowboys' game Nov. 16 against the Washington Redskins. Jones was suspended without pay for what the league called in a written news release "his most recent violation of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy."
The NFL's release also said: "The decision on whether Jones can return to play will be based on Jones' strict compliance with his NFL and Dallas Cowboys treatment plans as well as on evaluations of Jones' progress that will be provided to Commissioner Goodell by clinical experts retained by the NFL.
"Jones was involved in an alcohol-related physical altercation at a Dallas hotel on October 8 that resulted in hotel employees calling the police. Commissioner Goodell in today's letter to Jones called it a continuation of 'a disturbing pattern of behavior and clearly inconsistent with the conditions I set for your continued participation in the NFL.'
"Jones was suspended for the entire 2007 season for multiple violations of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy. In reinstating Jones on August 28 of this year, Commissioner Goodell said that the player's participation in the NFL depends on demonstrating that he can conduct himself in a socially responsible manner, avoiding any other conduct that brings disrespect to himself, his team, or the NFL."
The personal conduct policy also empowers Goodell to impose a lifetime ban on a player deemed the worst of repeat offenders. Under the policy, which was toughened in the spring of 2007 with the support of the players' union, any appeal of a decision is heard by Goodell or someone appointed by him.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said during a break in the owners' meetings that he supports Goodell's decision.
"I respect his decision and support it," Jerry Jones said.
Jerry Jones had declined to discipline Adam Jones last week and had said on a radio show late in the week that the notion that Jones might be suspended was ridiculous because the incident was "a nothing." Jerry Jones said today he felt that the matter had to be handled by Goodell and he understood the decision because Adam Jones was reinstated under what amounted to a zero-tolerance policy.
Jerry Jones said he spoke to Adam Jones by telephone after the decision and the player was "very disappointed" and "devastated." Adam Jones did not indicate whether he planned to appeal, Jerry Jones said.
"I am disappointed for him and his opportunity and the Cowboys," Jerry Jones said.
Jerry Jones said the Cowboys likely would welcome back Adam Jones if he's reinstated by Goodell.
"I'd like to see him intensify his approach to getting better," Jerry Jones said. "If he were successful, I'd like to be part of it."
Jerry Jones said that Adam Jones must demonstrate to Goodell that he has dealt with his alcohol-related issues to be reinstated.
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