The League

Les Carpenter
Staff Writer

Les Carpenter

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

Not Strict Enough

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The problem with the NFL's conduct policy is that it was designed not to halt off-field troubles as much as to squelch a looming public relations disaster that came after players like Tank Johnson and Pacman Jones were arrested two years ago. The policy was not an iron-clad set of rules and consequences but rather a fluid concept in which Commissioner Roger Goodell hands out punishment on a case-by-case basis.

It's impossible to say the NFL can be "cleaned up." It is simply too large a league, with too many players who have greater celebrity than ever. Trouble is easy to find. Players will continue to get arrested and without a strict set of rules and suspensions, it's hard for them to know what the limits are.

Goodell recently suspended receiver Donte Stallworth for a season after fatal car accident in which the player admitted to driving with a blood alcohol content over the legal limit. But given the nature of the accident -- that fact the victim may have been jaywalking across an interstate highway -- there is a good chance alcohol might not have played any factor in the man's death. It might simply have been an unavoidable, unfortunate accident. Meanwhile a player who was simply arrested for a DUI with a BAC much higher than Stallworth's will likely face little or no punishment from the league. Therefore, if the NFL was truly committed to keeping its players from drinking and driving, why not have an automatic eight-game suspension for all DUIs? Treat all DUIs as seriously as Stallworths's.

Until a standard list of punishments for crimes exists, players won't see the policy as a detriment. Perhaps if the league had a rule that carrying an illegal handgun is automatically a four-game suspension, Plaxico Burress wouldn't have brought his into that nightclub last fall. Maybe he would still be playing instead of heading to prison.

By Les Carpenter  |  August 21, 2009; 12:39 PM ET  | Category:  Crime , Donte Stallworth , Michael Vick , NFL , New York Giants , Plaxico Burress , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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Les, good news. If you get caught driving drunk, you will be suspended, no salary, for half a year. Sound good?

Posted by: ggreenbaum | August 21, 2009 5:40 PM

I agree GGREENBAUM...If Les gets caught drinking and driving I think he should forfeit half his salary and be suspended for half a year.

Posted by: 6thsense79 | August 21, 2009 10:00 PM

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