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The Bleacher Bums: December 3, 2008 Archive

A tale of two suspensions

Posted at 10:07 AM on December 3, 2008 by Chris Dall (3 Comments)

20081203williams.jpgPoor Chili. He's coming off his biggest win as head coach of the Vikings, he's in first place, the fans aren't calling for his head, and it finally looks his kick-#@$#%$ offense is starting to kick some #$@$%. Now he's about to lose the foundation of his defense, the unit that has kept his team in it all along. And if the Vikings end up missing out on the playoffs, it could be the end of the line for Major Dad.

Is it the end of the season for the Vikings? Certainly not. Even without the Williams Wall, and despite the fact that Daunte will be motivated to stick it to the man who banished him from MInnesota, the Vikings should beat Detroit. And the Cardinals, despite having a high-powered offense, are still the Cardinals, until proven otherwise. But Atlanta and the Giants, two teams with potent running attacks, will be tough teams to beat, even at home. Vikings fans have to hope that the Giants will have already wrapped up the #1 seed and will be resting their starters. So the Vikings could go 2-2 over these next four weeks, and fortunately for them, 9-7 could win the division and get them in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Giants are also dealing with a player suspension, albeit a self-imposed one. The team announced yesterday that it had suspended wide receiver/self-inflicted gunshot wound victim Plaxico Burress for the last four games of the season. But they took it even one step further by putting him on the non-football injury list, meaning he won't be available for the playoffs. So while Vikings officials shake their fists at Roger Goodell and decry the banishment of two key players, the Giants have gone with addition by subtraction. Take that, Mr. culture of accountability!

I'm not suggesting the offenses are equal. Burress should receive further punishment from the league, both for his stupidity, and for endangering himself and others. The Williamses should just be suspended for stupidity. They know the rules. Should they know every ingredient in every supplement they take? No. Maybe they should just stay away from supplements. And according to the NFL, players were told not to take StarCaps, the weight-loss supplement in question. The NFL also has a hotline to answer questions about supplements. And players have agents who should be making sure their clients are being careful about what they put in their bodies. This really didn't have to happen.

I'm sure a lot of Vikings fans are angry at the NFL, but they should be just as angry at the players themselves.

(Photo by David Sherman/Getty Images)

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For Goodell, Power Trumps Common Sense

Posted at 6:28 PM on December 3, 2008 by David Zingler (1 Comments)

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Pat Williams, Kevin Williams and a handful of other NFL players will forfeit 25 percent of their salary and be forced to abandon their teams during the league's stretch run because they took some diet pills. The substance in question, known as StarCaps contains diuretic Bumetanide which is banned by the NFL but was not listed as an ingredient on the product's packaging. As a result, the players that used it will be treated as if they knowingly and willingly injected a potent steroid into their biceps.

I am all for cleaning up the drug culture in pro sports, but I am also for common sense. So is our judicial system. You don't get the same treatment under the law for possessing a gram of marijuana versus a pound of cocaine. If you unintentionally kill a person in an auto accident, you are not treated like a premeditated murderer. The punishment should fit the crime. The world is a complicated place with many shades of grey, but that seems lost on NFL czar Roger Goodell.

The All-American, son of a senator wasted about five seconds before wielding his power when he became commissioner in 2006. First, it was the league's personal conduct policy which he used to suspend then-Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones for an entire season even though he hadn't yet been convicted of any crime.

Next, Goodell used his iron fist to smash the unruly celebration epidemic which was threatening to destroy the league with its excessive entertainment value. Memo to Roger: just because Archie Bunker wouldn't enjoy the post-TD antics of Terrell Owens doesn't mean the rest of us younger fans — who the future of your league depends on, by the way — don't appreciate the humor and creativity that athletes like Ocho Cinco bring to your often stuffy and conservative game.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, let's get back to the StarCaps fiasco. Pat and Kevin Williams, etc. made a mistake; I agree it's only fair they should be punished. How about a 1-game suspension without pay? There are some unique circumstances involved here and each player does have a degree of innocence. Send a message that you can be reasonable, but at the same time let the rest of the league know that this is a special case and any future use of StarCaps will result in a 4-game suspension.

Not only would that be fair, it would also achieve your desired result.

(Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

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