NFL Aims to Tackle Public Relations Problem of Player Arrests!

Contrary to what some people may believe after the recent history of player arrests in professional football, the NFL does not stand for “Not Following the Law” but is rather short for the National Football League.

A recent San Diego Union-Tribune story reported that there have been 308 NFL arrests and citations since 2000. Even more interesting, this report revealed that 40 percent of those arrests came from 3 percent of the players in the league. When broken down like Rex Grossman facing the blitz, approximately 50 players accounted for 40 percent of NFL arrests since 2000.

And what team won the Super Bowl for player arrests during that time period? Who else but the Cincinnati Bengals, who have had 23 player arrests since 2000! Nine of those 23 arrests have occurred since the end of 2005. Along with Tennessee Titans’ cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones, Cincinnati wide receiver Chris Henry has become a poster boy for NFL arrests.

In reaction to such numbers and embarrassments on the public relations side of the field, the NFL has been reviewing its current personal conduct policies to discourage behavior that could result in arrests, criminal charges and DUI offenses. Earlier this month, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell came down with the hard hammer when he suspended Jones for the 2007 season and Henry for the first eight regular season game for their respective “run-ins” with the law.

Pacman Jones Will Have Plenty of Time to Gobble Up Pac-Dots This Upcoming Season!

On April 10th, Goodell made his message about NFL player conduct loud and clear when he suspended Jones for the entire season. A recent Associated Content story said that Jones has been arrested five times and is facing felony and misdemeanor charges for obstructing police during an incident in Georgia.

Goodell apparently had enough with Jones’ history of getting in trouble off the field following a February incident in Las Vegas during the weekend of the NBA All Star Game. Jones was frequenting a strip club with friends when a melee broke out, leaving three people shot and one person paralyzed for life.

The incident allegedly began when Jones and his pals began to throw money-$81,000 to be exact-at the strippers. A melee naturally broke out as other patrons began going for the large amount of money. According to the Associated Content story, Jones was seen striking a dancer before being taken out of the bar by police. A story said that Jones was interviewed by Las Vegas police as a witness to the shooting and not as a suspect.

Jones will lose $1.2 million during his suspension. According to the story, Jones can not get into any trouble with the law during the suspension and is not allowed to go to any club for the entire year. He also must be home by 1 a.m., a punishment which some have felt exceeds the bounds of the NFL’s power.

Goodell has indicated than any slip-ups for Jones could result in him being banned from the league forever. Just last weekend, Jones bought an ad in a Tennessee newspaper in which he vowed to regain the trust of the Tennessee Titans and its fans. Jones had four interceptions and three punt returns for touchdowns last season with the team.

Quick Audible: What Do Pacman Jones and Chris Henry Share in Common Besides Their Arrests and Suspensions?

They both were teammates at West Virginia University. Henry, the talented yet mercurial receiver for the Bengals, will miss half of the 2007 NFL season after Goodell bumped him out of play at the line of scrimmage.

An Associated Press story detailed how Henry had been arrested four times in a 14-month period:

  • Henry was arrested for a small amount of marijuana in December 2006.
  • Henry was falsely accused of sexual assault in April 2006. However, that case revealed that Henry had given two girls, ages 15 and 16, some alcohol in his hotel room. He pleaded guilty to that offense and spent two days in jail in January for the offense.
  • Henry and a group of friends were engaged in a scuffle outside an Orlando bar last summer. Henry brandished a firearm during the tussle.
  • Henry was arrested for drunk driving in July 2006. As a condition of his probation, he can not get arrested again.

On March 25th, Henry was pulled over for not wearing his seatbelt. He was later given a ticket for not only this offense but also driving on a suspended license and failing to use a turn signal. Those charges were later dropped.

While Henry may have gotten off on those charges, he couldn’t escape the wrath of Goodell. Henry will lose $225,000 during his suspension and could lose his career in the NFL if he’s involved in any more incidents in the future!