The League

Les Carpenter
Staff Writer

Les Carpenter

Yahoo! Sports reporter and former NFL writer for The Washington Post.

A clear policy is needed

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No player in recent years has brought more confusion to the NFL in than Pacman Jones. His name has appeared on police reports and been linked to several high profile crimes but aside from a plea deal from a felony to a misdemeanor in a nightclub shooting he has not been convicted of anything. This makes punishing him tricky. And NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell tried to squelch a growing public relations disaster by banning him for a year when players with actual convictions for crimes such as DWIs have been allowed to continue playing.

This is not to endorse Pacman's behavior, it is fortunate no one has yet died in these incidents, but without a set way to deal with Jones, and other players who get themselves in trouble, you continue to wind up with situations like this week's where a league official spent hours studying the police report of a fight with a bodyguard to see if it justified kicking him out of the NFL.

The Cowboys took a chance with Pacman Jones, figuring the talent was tempting enough to ignore the past. Owner Jerry Jones told him he had lost the benefit of the doubt and yet when confronted with yet another off-field issue, immediately gave the player the benefit of the doubt. Rather than risk Jones's ire and perhaps shake the balance of power in the NFC East, Goodell decided to let this incident rest. But what happens the next time Pacman gets in trouble and the time after that?

What behavior will lead to his suspension or his being kicked out of the league? The problem is no one seems to know because there appears to be no set policy for dealing with him and other players who get themselves in trouble. How much is too much? Right now the NFL still doesn't have the answer.

By Les Carpenter  |  October 10, 2008; 12:58 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Lifetime Ban Seems Unlikely | Next: Cut Pac Some Slack

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