The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NFL suspensions send right message

By Chris Cates/sports editor

With just over half a year of experience under his belt, Roger Goodell is already turning heads as NFL commissioner.

Tennessee Titans cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones is gone for the entire 2007 season, and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry is gone for eight games after the league reviewed each case this off-season.

Both players have constantly been in trouble with the law but were never suspended for an extended period of time. Goodell wanted to send a message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated under his watch. And he even went as far as to say if Jones and Henry were to misstep again, they were gone for life.

This tough stance is exactly what the league needs. It’s enough of a reality check to scare Jones and Henry into behaving well, but, more importantly, they do receive that second chance. Both guys are young and have a chance to turn their lives around. Simply taking them out of the league for good would do nothing but diminish their chances of succeeding in life.

The quandary is simple, yet age-old: do you want talent over behavior or vise versa? Some of the best players tend to have the most trouble staying out of trouble, and Goodell’s message is clear: a problem-free league is of enough importance to sacrifice talent any day of the week.

Young kids look up to these guys. Pacman Jones was involved in a shooting, and has been interviewed by police numerous times in the past couple years. Kids see this kind of activity, see it go almost completely unpunished, and view Jones as a star. What message is the league sending to kids? Not a positive one, that’s for sure.

Money, fame and bad behavior often go hand in hand. When you’re famous, you get away with more. And when you’re rich, you can afford to purchase and do things the average person can’t.

Nearly everyone in the NFL falls into this category to some degree, and, as such, they live lives that are conducive to trouble. Be it weapons, drugs—whatever—the fact is these guys need a guiding and motivating force to keep them from making bad decisions.

Goodell knows this. Not that Paul Tagliabue didn’t realize this, but one or two game suspensions for certain things just won’t do enough to deter some actions.

Pacman Jones will miss an entire year of his playing career and lose more than $1 million. If that’s not incentive enough for any player to stay out of trouble, then I don’t know what is.

Additionally, the short suspensions that don’t get much media play tend to go unnoticed by the non-hardcore fan. These two suspensions are garnering lots of attention, and the players are generally going to be known as bad guys now. For some players such a distinction may not be a problem, but it’s additional motivation for most to stay out of trouble.

Kudos to Goodell for setting this new precedent on league suspensions.

This action was absolutely necessary, and a move like this should dramatically decrease the NFL’s off-field problems after an absurdly high number of cases last year.

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