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Impact player: NFL Commissioner Goodell

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    His tough stance on player conduct seems to be having a significant effect

    By Brent Schrotenboer, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
    Saturday, April 17, 2010

    Three years ago, the NFL admitted it had a pretty big problem.
    Its players were being arrested or charged with crimes, on average, almost twice per week.
    There were at least 79 such incidents from April 2006 to April 2007, prompting Commissioner Roger Goodell to say certain players “were tainting the league.”
    So he did something about it. He got tough on them with a more rigid personal conduct policy, announced in April 2007.
    But is it working?
    To gauge its effectiveness, the Union-Tribune updated its compilation of player arrests and major citations since 2000, something it has done each year since it first published the list in April 2007. Using public records and media reports, the Union-Tribune tracked 495 such incidents in the past 10 years. The database shows there were 44 incidents in the past year, down almost half from the year before the policy revision. “That’s good news,” league spokesman Greg Aiello said. “It’s self-evident.”
    The policy has affected teams’ personnel decisions when deciding to draft, sign or retain certain players. Yet issues remain:
    •Wide differences in the number of incidents per team show that some remain far less risk-averse than others in their decision-making.
    •The crackdown also has failed to significantly reduce drunken-driving charges, which remain the league’s biggest criminal issue.
    •Additionally, concerns have been raised that Goodell’s policy goes too far, particularly in cases when players can be disciplined despite not being convicted, arrested or charged with crimes. Recently, Goodell has considered discipline against Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has been accused of sexual assault by two different women but hasn’t been arrested or charged in either instance.
    “That raises some very difficult issues,” said David Cornwell, Roethlisberger’s attorney.
    Policy impact

    On March 14, 2009, Cleveland Browns receiver Donte Stallworth was driving drunk in Miami when he struck and killed a pedestrian. He served 24 days in jail after pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter. Goodell suspended him for the 2009 season. By contrast, after St. Louis defensive end Leonard Little drove drunk and killed a woman in 1998, he was suspended for half as many games (eight) by Goodell’s predecessor, Paul Tagliabue, in 1999.
    Goodell has suspended 15 players under the conduct policy since April 2007, twice as many as Tagliabue did in the last few years before his retirement in 2006.
    Such an increase in player discipline has underscored the league’s renewed message. The NFL also has strengthened player support and development programs to help them transition from college to the NFL.
    “A lot of the programs were nascent in 2007, but now are sort of crystallizing,” said Adolpho Birch, the NFL’s vice president of law and labor policy.
    The conduct policy especially has affected how teams make decisions, in part because teams can be fined for having multiple player suspensions in a year. It has led teams to avoid “risky” players. Take the Jacksonville Jaguars. Last April, they had more player arrests (13) than any other team in the first two years since Goodell toughened the policy. Since then, they’ve had no known arrests.
    What’s been the difference?
    The team overhauled its front office and installed a new general manager, Gene Smith, who said he wanted players that children “can look up to.”
    Smith said Thursday that “it’s not any one thing that necessarily steers us away from a player.” Instead it’s “patterns of behavior” that can include even how potential draft picks interact with team secretaries.
    On the other hand, player agents have speculated that some teams have overreacted and avoided talented players with any possible past issues.
    “They are letting good football players fall through the cracks over rumors about their background,” one player agent said. Player agents didn’t want to name individual teams because they didn’t want to upset their business relations with them.
    But some teams’ numbers stand out. Detroit and St. Louis have been two of the worst on-field teams in the NFL in recent years. Is it a coincidence that they also rank first and second in the league with fewest run-ins with the law since 2000? The Rams have six, Detroit seven, according to the database. The correlation between off-field character and on-field performance still is inconclusive. The New York Jets also have had only seven run-ins with the law since 2000, according to the database. They were one win away from the Super Bowl last season.
    Minnesota and Cincinnati lead the NFL with 30 incidents since 2000. The Chargers have had 22, including six since April 2007. The Chargers said no officials were available to answer questions about the effect of the policy. The team instead issued a statement that said team CEO “Dean Spanos has always placed a major emphasis on the team’s image and reputation in the San Diego community, so these programs are a top priority for the organization.”
    Issues remain

    He won’t name teams, but former Green Bay Packers executive Andrew Brandt said, “Some teams will let talent override character more than others.”
    It’s no secret. Since January, the Bengals signed receivers Matt Jones and Chris Davis, both of whom were arrested in 2009. The Bengals also have signed other players with previous arrests, including defensive lineman Tank Johnson, who was arrested four times with the Chicago Bears. In February, the Bengals even gave an audition to cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones, who has had six arrests or major citations from 2005-07.
    Even so, the Bengals have had just one known arrest in the past year and six in the past three. The team declined to answer specific questions about its decisions and instead issued a statement that said: “Every team in the league is working hard to represent their community and club in the best possible light.”
    The biggest criminal issue for the league remains drunken driving. All teams have enlisted a ride-home program to help players avoid DUIs. Yet 10 of 21 player arrests since October have involved DUIs. According to the database, 28 percent of NFL player arrests are DUIs. The next biggest problem area — 22 percent — involves fighting and disorderly conduct.
    Both players and the league emphasize that the number of players arrested represent only a small fraction of the league. According to the database, there’s about one arrest for every 47 NFL players per year. That’s better behavior than the overall American rate in recent years, which is one arrest per 22 people, according to the FBI. But members of regular society aren’t in the public eye or viewed as role models.
    “I absolutely want to be the leader this team deserves, valued in the community and a role model to kids,” Roethlisberger said Monday while apologizing for the “negative attention” he brought his team and the NFL.
    Roethlisberger’s case could show how far Goodell is willing to take his policy. Prosecutors in Georgia, where the latest alleged incident occurred, declined to file charges. The revised conduct policy said the commissioner can impose punishment “even when the conduct itself has not yet resulted in a conviction of a crime.” Yet Roethlisberger wasn’t even arrested or charged. Only one player — Jones — was suspended by Goodell without being arrested or charged. It happened in 2008 when Jones allegedly got into a scuffle with his bodyguard. The difference with Jones’ case is that he previously was suspended after six arrests/citations and was on a shorter leash with the league.
    “There are some real serious issues that boil up in circumstances where you’re attempting to discipline or regulate conduct that doesn’t result in arrests or criminal charges,” said Cornwell, Roethlisberger’s attorney. “While all sorts of employees have expectations and procedures about employee conduct, very rarely if ever do those procedures apply to conduct away from the workplace.”
    Cornwell declined to discuss the Roethlisberger case.
    “Any employer has rules,” NFL spokesman Aiello said. “When an employee breaks them, they can take disciplinary action.”
    Earlier this month, Goodell sent a memo to teams that said “NFL and club personnel must do more than simply avoid criminal behavior.”
    “The impact of those behaviors, even if noncriminal, are immediately felt, readily apparent and have an obvious impact on our brand and what we’re trying to stand for as a league,” said Birch, the NFL VP.

  2. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    4/10/2010 Leroy Hill, Seattle LB: Arrested on suspicion of domestic violence.
    4/1/2010 Shaun Rogers, Cleveland DT: Arrested after officials said a loaded gun was found in his bag at the Cleveland airport.
    3/27/2010 Joey Porter, Arizona LB: Arrested on suspicion of DUI in Bakersfield. Also accused of assaulting police officer and resisting arrest. Dropped for lack of evidence.
    3/19/2010 Ronnie Brown, Miami RB: Arrested on suspicion of DUI near Atlanta after being pulled over for changing lanes without signaling. Blood-alcohol content of .158.
    3/13/2010 Spencer Havner, Green Bay TE: Arrested in California on suspicion of DUI after motorcycle accident.
    2/20/2010 Will Allen, Miami CB: Arrested, charged with DUI about 3:30 a.m. in Miami Beach. Breath tests showed blood-alcohol content at .152 and .167.
    2/19/2010 Byron Westbrook, Washington CB: Arrested on suspicion of DUI just before 2 a.m. in Maryland.
    2/6/2010 Tony McDaniel, Miami DT: Arrested on misdemeanor battery charge after allegedly getting into fight with his girlfriend.
    2/2/2010 Deon Anderson, Dallas FB: Arrested because of outstanding traffic warrants. Police confiscated two weapons from his car.
    1/30/2010 Michael Richardson, Kansas City CB: Arrested in Tampa, Fla., charged with possession of open alcohol container.
    1/29/2010 Rey Maualuga, Cincinnati LB: Arrested on DUI charge in Kentucky after hitting a parking meter and two parked cars with his 2003 Pontiac. Pleaded guilty, blood-alcohol-content of .157, suspended sentence of seven days in jail, $350 in fines, two years’ probation, driver’s license suspended 90 days.
    1/18/2010 Chad Rinehart, Washington OL: Arrested on charge of public intoxication in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
    1/17/2010 Vincent Jackson, Chargers WR: Pulled over for “loud music,” handcuffed, cited for driving with a suspended license, expired registration.
    1/15/2010 Kenny Britt, Tennessee WR: Arrested on three outstanding traffic warrants after being pulled over in Glen Ridge, N.J. Paid $865 and was released.
    1/10/2010 Jermaine Phillips, Tampa Bay S: Charged with domestic battery by strangulation, accused of choking his wife.
    1/1/2010 Taj Smith, Indianapolis WR: Arrested on suspicion of DUI after being pulled over at 3:24 a.m.
    12/29/2009 Bobby McCray, New Orleans DE: Arrested on DUI charge, speeding, no registration, at 4:30 a.m.
    12/10/2009 Jonathan Babineaux, Atlanta DT: Arrested after traffic stop on suspicion of marijuana possession.
    11/30/2009 Jon Beason, Carolina LB: Arrested on aggravated assault charge after altercation at strip club Nov. 15. Dropped for lack of evidence.
    11/16/2009 Eric Weems, Atlanta WR: Arrested, charged with DUI in DeKalb County, Ga.
    10/27/2009 Marcus Johnson, Tampa Bay OL: Arrested on suspicion of DUI. Police found him asleep in 2010 Chevy Impala about 4 a.m. Team cut him same day.
    10/26/2009 Braylon Edwards, Cleveland WR: Charged with misdemeanor assault, accused of punching friend of LeBron James at club Oct. 5. Edwards was traded to the New York Jets a few days after the incident. Pleaded no contest to aggravated disorderly conduct, fined $1,000, suspended 180-day jail sentence.
    10/18/2009 Jeff Reed, Pittsburgh K: Arrested outside restaurant near Steelers’ stadium, charged with resisting arrest, public intoxication after police say he raised fists while officers issued public urination citation to teammate Matt Spaeth. Charges of resisting arrest and simple assault dismissed, but ordered to 40 hours of community service.
    10/18/2009 Matt Spaeth, Pittsburgh TE: Cited for public urination outside restaurant. Teammate Jeff Reed arrested as part of incident.
    10/13/2009 Lance Louis, Chicago OL: Charged with misdemeanor assault after allegedly striking San Diego State teammate in November 2008. Pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery, sentenced to three years’ probation, $565 fine, 40 hours community service, anger management classes.
    10/5/2009 Will Billingsley, Miami CB: Arrested, charged with misdemeanor domestic battery and resisting arrest after scratches found on girlfriend’s arm and neck.
    9/7/2009 Richard Quinn, Denver TE: Arrested on domestic violence and harassment charges after woman said he grabbed and shook her during an argument
    9/6/2009 Shawne Merriman, Chargers LB: His reality TV star friend, Tila Tequila, signed a citizen’s arrest warrant, charging him with battery and false imprisonment. She said he choked her and was treated for injuries at nearby hospital. Charges dropped.
    8/31/2009 Usama Young, New Orleans S: Arrested after traffic stop, charged with failure to appear in court for parking in a handicap spot.
    8/30/2009 Cedric Griffin, Minnesota CB: Arrested, charged with DUI. Pleaded guilty, paid $300 fine, two days of community service.
    8/23/2009 Tony Fein, Baltimore LB: Arrested, charged with assaulting officer in Baltimore. Cut from team within two weeks.
    8/21/2009 Chris Davis, Tennessee WR: Arrested, charged with DUI in Nashville after 2 a.m. traffic stop.
    8/20/2009 Aqib Talib, Tampa Bay CB: Arrested on charges of resisting arrest and simple battery after allegedly striking cabdriver.
    8/5/2009 Juqua Parker, Philadelphia DE: Arrested on marijuana possession charge after traffic stop at 12:33 a.m.
    6/28/2009 Vonta Leach, Houston FB: Charged with simple assault in July stemming from June 28 fight at restaurant in North Carolina.
    6/20/2009 Owen Schmitt, Seattle FB: Arrested for investigation of drunken driving near Seattle. Pleaded guilty to reckless driving, 24 hours of community service and payment of $2,130.
    5/26/2009 Quinn Ojinnaka, Atlanta OL: Charged with simple battery after wife said he tossed her down the stairs.
    5/24/2009 Randy Starks, Miami DE: Arrested, charged with aggravated battery of a police officer in Miami Beach.
    5/14/2009 Corey McIntyre, Buffalo FB: Arrested, charged with fondling himself outside woman’s home in Florida two months earlier. Case dropped.
    5/6/2009 Anthony Mix, Tampa Bay WR: Turned himself in on misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Police said he had sex with 15-year-old girl. Cut by team same day.
    5/3/2009 Biren Ealy, New Orleans WR: Arrested on obscenity and disturbing the peace charges. Allegedly urinated in public and exposed himself to women. Cut by team two days later.
    5/3/2009 Kolomona Kapanui, New Orleans TE: Arrested on obscenity and disturbing the peace charges. He allegedly urinated in public and exposed himself to women. Cut by team two days later.
    4/25/2009 Shaun Phillips, Chargers LB: Cited for misdemeanor battery after a security guard at a downtown San Diego bar said Phillips hit him in the face. Dropped for lack of evidence.
    4/11/2009 Donte Whitner, Buffalo DB: Arrested, charged with aggravated disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Police shocked him with stun gun outside Cleveland nightclub.
    Source: The Union-Tribune reviewed hundreds of news reports and public records since 2000 to compile an unofficial list of 495 arrests or major citations (www.uniontrib.com/nfl/arrests-database). The list cannot be considered comprehensive in part because some incidents may not have been reported. Increased media coverage of incidents also probably accounts for more incidents listed in recent years. The list includes players who were in the league at the time of their arrests, including practice squads and players on injured reserve.
  3. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2005
    I just got done reading that article, the thing that sticks out ---

    The NFL still is better behaved than American society:

    NFL: Roughly one arrest per 47 players per year since 2000, including injured reserve lists, according to the database.

    U.S. population: One arrest per 22 people per year (around 4,637 arrests per 100,000 inhabitants), according to the FBI.

  4. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

    Aug 14, 2006
    Hahahaha Vjack pulled over for "loud music"...sounds like a cop searching for an excuse.
  5. Rainman

    Rainman BoltTalker

    Sep 4, 2006
    That and loud clothes. :gaga:


    Oct 4, 2009
    Should say pulled over for encountering an *******(the cop):icon_shrug:
  7. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

    Aug 15, 2006
    If VJ wasn't a dumbass tho he wouldn't be driving on a suspended liscense. The cop would have told him to turn it down, he could said "ok", then bounced. Don't forget the real reason he was in trouble to begin with, DRUNK DRIVING followed by SUSPENDED LISCENSE.

    You're rich, call someone to drive you *******.
  8. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Chris Jennings allegedly punched a bouncer in the mouth

    Posted by Mike Florio on April 17, 2010 11:20 PM ET
    At least when Browns running back Chris Jennings decided to pop a guy, he picked someone a little bigger and tougher than the 130-pound friend of LeBron James.

    According to WOIO-TV, Jennings allegedly punched the bouncer at the Velvet Dog nightclub in the mouth after Jennings and his friend were denied admission due to their attire.

    "We try to maintain a dress code to have a more upscale crowd. It tends to eliminate some problems," Velvet Dog owner Tom Culkar told WOIO.

    Jenning tried to get in, and the bouncer tried to stop him. A Cuyahoga County deputy sheriff happened to be driving by, and he noticed the altercation. The officer got the bouncer's version, and he noticed blood on the bouncer's mouth.

    Jennings was then arrested. It's still unclear whether he'll be charged.


    Oct 4, 2009
    Right? Or have the team get you a shouffer? I mean I'm sure they'd rather pay for that than have to worry about their top receiver getting arrested!!

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