Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Is the National Football League once again the No Fun League?


Once again National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell is having to deal with misbehaving players. Goodell’s off field policy created in 2007 has generated a great deal of discussion, but in light of recent on field incidents, it might be time for Goodell to create a blanket policy when it comes to dealing with player behavior.

On Thanksgiving Day, Detroit Lions Defensive Tackle Ndamukong Suh stomped on the arm of Green Bay Packers Guard Evan Dietrich-Smith in the third quarter of the Lions' 27-15 loss and was ejected.

Sunday during the Buffalo Bills 28-14 loss to the New York Jets, Stevie Johnson was fined $10,000, and the Bills were penalized 15 yards, after Johnson’s end zone dance mocked Jets receiver Plaxico Burress’s infamous gun incident where he shot himself in leg. Burress spent two years behind bars for his actions.

Suh's suspension will cost him $164,000, or two game checks. For Suh, the 2010 NFL
Defensive Rookie of the Year, it was the fifth time in his two year NFL career his on-field behavior has created ‘issues’.
Suh contacted Goodell Sunday evening to apologize for his what he did – four days after the Lions Thanksgiving game. How sincere can he be if it took hm four days to reach out?

In a statement released Tuesday, the league said Suh has now violated its on-field rules five times since joining the Lions in 2010.
Suh was widely considered to be one of the best prospects available in the 2010 Draft. ESPN.com's draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. described Suh as "maybe the most dominating defensive tackle I've seen in 32 years" and projected him to go #1 overall to the St. Louis Rams. The Rams ultimately selected quarterback Sam Bradford.

To prepare for the NFL Draft and the subsequent contract negotiations, Suh signed with Maximum Sports Management, and agent Roosevelt Barnes.

This was concerning for many teams who were hoping to draft him, as this was the same agent who represented Michael Crabtree. Crabtree held out for over six weeks into the NFL season before signing with the San Francisco 49ers in 2009.

For off the field marketing activities, Suh signed with The Agency Sports Management & Marketing, where Russ Spielman serves as lead agent.

His Lions contract guaranteed the defensive tackle a five year $40 million contract.
Suh the second overall 2010 selection in the NFL draft has endorsement contracts with Subway and Chrysler. He's also worked with Omaha Steaks and Battle Sports Science. None of Suh’s sponsors have suggested they’ll drop him.

The Lions are 7-4 and have a real chance of making the playoffs. They are one of the feel good stories of the 2011 NFL season.

His image is of a rough, tough unrelenting NFL player. Is his reputation good for business and the Lions?

Football is a violent game and Suh, in his second NFL season, has to be considered one of the league’s most violent players. For all the wrong reasons Suh appeals to both corporate America and to the football teams for which he plays.

The next time Suh decides to stomp on opponent count on Roger Goodell suspending him for at least five games based on his history.
Stevie Johnson’s on field behavior bordered on moronic. He mocked Plaxico Burress, drew a 15-yard personal foul for excessive celebration and dropped the would-be winning touchdown.

"When we start talking regret, I'm not one to regret much. But in this situation I do regret doing what I did," he said. "I was really expecting Plax to come back at me, making this like a rivalry thing, you know Bills-Jets, they talk, we come back at them, he come back at me. I was expecting him to do something funny in the end zone. ... but he didn't.

"So I was seeing it was probably more serious than what I took it. So I regret doing that, yeah. And I also regret going to the ground, which cost our team at the end of the day a touchdown."

According to the Buffalo News, Johnson was penalized, and subsequently fined $10,000 by the league, for a similar incident during a Week Three game in the 2010 season against the New England Patriots.

That time, he mimicked the Patriots' traditional musket blast after a touchdown, falling to the ground.

While two on-field incidents are being talked about this week, a series of conduct policies Goodell created in April 2007 sent a message to NFL players that if you behave badly and you’ll pay a price.

Goodell implemented a tougher new personal-conduct policy and, under conditions of the previous policy, handed down two of the harshest suspensions in NFL history for off-field misdeeds.

Just days before the start of 2006 season, Roger Goodell was named NFL Commissioner. Goodell’s first major task was to deal with the fallout from a 2006 off-season filled with NFL players behaving badly.

In the months leading up to Goodell's appointment, nine players from the Cincinnati Bengals were arrested. Goodell and the National Football League Players Association announced that teams would become responsible for the conduct of their employees, and will be subject to discipline for any transgressions.

Goodell had consulted with the late Gene Upshaw, former NFLPA executive director, and created a six-man player advisory committee to discuss conduct, discipline and other topics.

The first to feel the wrath of Goodell were Tennessee Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones and the late Chris Henry, of the Cincinnati Bengals. The two were teammates at West Virginia. The third player suspended was Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson.

On August 24, 2007, Atlanta Falcons starting quarterback, and NFL mega star, Michael Vick plead guilty to in his involvement in illegal dog fighting and was suspended indefinitely without pay.

He was reinstated upon his release from prison in time to play in the 2009-2010 season.

Ben Roethlisberger was next. On July 17, 2009, a civil suit was filed in Washoe County, Nevada District Court accusing Roethlisberger of sexually assaulting Andrea McNulty in June 2008 in his hotel room. He was in Lake Tahoe for a celebrity golf tournament. No charges were filed in the case.

In March 2010 Roethlisberger was, again, accused of sexual assault. While Roethlisberger was once again not charged with a crime following the events at the nightclub, the league still suspended him for six games, which was later reduced to four.

This is the only time in league history a player has been suspended under the personal conduct policy without being charged with a crime.

Off the field Goodell’s power appears to be absolute. He has made it clear if a player breaks the law, or is even arrested, he’s going to pay a stiff price.
NFL owners have been very supportive of Goodell’s off-the-field player behavior policy, as have former NFL players.

Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp stated, "I understand what they're doing. Some of these new-jack kids act like they're walking on water. Sometimes, they need to be slapped in the face to wake up."

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said of the policy, "I hope this sends a message to people in our league for how to conduct themselves. We have to be careful. People in America can't relate to overindulged athletes not acting responsibly."

If Ndamukong Suh had done what he had done in a normal workplace, he would have been arrested and charged with assault. We all know the gridiron isn’t your normal http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifworkplace. If Stevie Johnson had taunted someone at a normal workplace he would have been fired.

Sooner rather than later, for the good of the game, Roger Goodell has to deal with the Ndamukong Suh's and Stevie Johnson's in the same way he dealt with Pacman Jones, Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger and company.

It’s not a matter of the NFL becoming the No Fun League, it’s a matter of Roger Goodell sending a message to all NFL players that no longer will bad behavior be acceptable on or off a football field.

For s this is Howard Bloom. Sources used in this Insider Report: Wikipedia

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