Time to get tough
NFL may take swift action, suspend Pacman
Posted: Tuesday March 20, 2007 12:40PM; Updated: Monday March 26, 2007 2:05PM
The NFL may soon hand down the kind of decision that could highlight Roger Goodell's brief reign as commissioner and put the spotlight squarely on his efforts to strengthen the league's personal conduct policy. Sources within the league office say the NFL is likely to set an example with its punishment of troubled Tennessee Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman'' Jones, suspending him even before the legal process from a Las Vegas strip club brawl in February is complete. The suspension could wipe out his entire 2007 season.
In close collaboration with the NFL Players Association, Goodell is spearheading a drive to increase the league sanctions that can be levied against a player who runs afoul of the law. Owners are expected to adopt stricter punishment levels at the NFL's annual meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz. -- a move brought on by the arrests of more than 50 NFL players since the start of 2006.
Jones has emerged as the poster child for the league's litany of off-field player conduct issues, with a record of 10 incidents where he was either arrested or interviewed by police since Tennessee selected him sixth overall in the 2005 NFL Draft. According to a source in the league office, the NFL doesn't have to wait to see if Jones is ultimately charged for having any role in the Las Vegas strip club triple-shooting that left one man paralyzed. Jones is already subject to league suspension for not telling the Titans about a pair of 2006 arrests in Georgia, which violates his contract's personal conduct clause.
"I don't think [the NFL] will have to wait for the legal process to take its course in this particular situation,'' the source said. "Not in the case where the player has failed to report arrests and transgressions, like he's mandated to do under the terms of the personal conduct clause in his contract.
"We can't tell the Titans that he won't play for them ever again, because the Titans, at the end of the day, will determine his long-term future. But the league will determine his short-term future. You should see something within a two or three-week time frame, and I would think you could expect a multiple-game suspension, or as much as a year or beyond.''
Jones is set to appear in a Fayetteville, Ga., court in mid-May for a February 2006 incident in which he was charged with felony obstruction of police for biting an officer between his thumb and index finger. The police had sought to question him while he was sitting in a car outside the home owned by his girlfriend's parents. A marijuana possession charge from March 2006 in Georgia was dismissed in January.
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