Posted at 6:28 PM on December 3, 2008
by David Zingler
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)
Great article! The NFL was great under Paul T., why is Goodell trying to ruin it!