I’m sure by now that most of you have heard that the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has suspended Tennessee Titans cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones for the duration of the 2007 season, and Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver Chris Henry for 8 games of the upcoming season. The reasoning behind the suspension were both players numerous encounters with law enforcement during the recently concluded 2006 season.
Both players teams say that they support the decision of the league on the suspension; which came as something of a surprise to me. You might have guessed that I support the decision of the league as well. There has been some talk about this suspension, and the word “racism” got tossed into the fray, which is just damn foolish.
The NFL is first and foremost a business. So are the individual teams associated with the NFL. If an employee of a business was acting in a manner that was considered to be detrimental to the business, that business is within its rights as an employer to take disciplinary action. It doesn’t matter for whom you work, if you break the rules you should expect to be punished.
I am also appreciative of the fact that Commissioner Goodell acknowledges that NFL players should be held to a standard of conduct. For better or for worse, boys and young men are influenced by the on and off field conduct of professional athletes. I am heartened because it appears that the NFL is going to take the steps that the NBA was unwilling to take – and by that I mean ensure that off the field their athletes were acting in a manner that reflects well on the league.
“Character is what you do when you think no one is looking” is a lesson that all of these players should bear well in mind. They should also probably remember with the level of exposure that they have, someone is always looking.