Let’s Talk About the Wacky World of NFL Suspensions

It seems like this year there has been a slew of suspensions and as each suspension is announced I can’t help but scratch my head. The length of suspensions given the crime don’t make sense, so I’m hoping that by writing this post I’ll somehow make sense of how the National Football League decides the length of a player’s suspension.

Just so we’re all on the same page, here’s a list of players suspended thus far for the 2018 season:

Personal Conduct Policy Violators:

  • Jameis Winston 3 games
  • Nigel Bradham (Eagles) 1 game

Substance Abuse Policy Violators:

  • David Irving (Cowboys) 4 games
  • Reuben Foster (49ers) 2 games
  • Aaron Jones (Packers) 2 games
  • Jamon Brown (Rams) 2 games
  • Donald Stephenson (Browns) 2 games
  • Josh Huff (Saints) 2 games
  • Demetrius Harris (Chiefs) 1 game

Performance-Enhancing Substances Policy Violators:

  • Robert Turbin (Colts ) 4 games
  • Julian Edelman (Patriots) 4 games
  • Mark Ingram (Saints) 4 games
  • Thomas Davis (Panthers) 4 games
  • Vontaze Burfict (Bengals) 4 games
  • Corey Liuget (Chargers) 4 games
  • Vadal Alexander (Raiders) 4 games
  • Victor Bolden (49ers) 4 games
  • Cayleb Jones (Vikings) 4 games
  • Kentrell Brothers (Vikings) 4 games
  • Josh Mauro (Giants) 4 games

Now I appreciate that there is consistency in punishment for those caught violating the performance-enhancing substances policy and I somewhat understand the four games. But what I don’t understand is how a guy like Julian Edelman gets four games while Jameis Winston, a guy with a track record of offenses against females walks away with three games, how does that even remotely make sense? Sure Edelman is taking something to give himself an unfair advantage, but Winston is showing a track record of thinking that he’s allowed to do whatever he wants because of his statue, which in my opinion ruins the game of football WAY more than taking a PED. It almost feels like the NFL only cares when a player takes something to enhance his performance but once you step off the field they don’t care.

I mean the NFL has a policy where is a player snitches on another player taking PEDs they will actually give the snitch a reduce suspension, essentially rewarding them for ratting out their fellow players. And I get it, PEDs can ruin the game, but doesn’t having guys that violate the personal conduct policy do just as much damage? And really how effective is this policy because it seems like it would be super easy to figure out who ratted you out if you get popped for PEDs. Plus the guys all got the same suspensions thus far for 2018 so is that the maximum suspension or a reduced suspension?

So I guess my question is how are punishments determined in the NFL? It feels like the only clear punishment is those violating the PED policy, but why not have one for the rest? Are there different suspensions in substance abuse if someone is a repeat offender? Is that why Irving not four games instead of two? How come Harris only got one instead of two? In an ideal world, the NFL would have a consistent punishment system for violations, including a varying scale depending on the player’s history (kind’ve like the NHL has) and those violating the personal conduct policy with offenses against females would face harder punishments to deter that type of behavior.

But until that day, I guess I’ll just be sitting here waiting for someone to explain to me the wacky world of NFL suspensions.

 

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