As police continue to investigate claims from two women that Packers cornerback Brandon Underwood allegedly sexually assaulted them, Underwood’s legal battle has a new front — the National Football League.
“There is an active law enforcement investigation and we are monitoring
developments,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Associated Press on Sunday. “As with any such incident, it will be reviewed under the
league’s Personal Conduct Policy.”
But don’t expect the NFL to take action before the case resolves, unless and until Underwood has a second incident. As explained when news of the situation first broke, the player accused of assault won’t be subject to a suspension absent proof of a pattern of allegations. (It could be argued, in theory, that two women making allegations constitutes a pattern, even if the allegations arose on the same evening.)
That said, if guilt becomes overwhelming as to a single incident, the league could intervene. It widely was believed that the NFL planned to suspend receiver Plaxico Burress before he pleaded guilty to felony weapons charges last year.
For Underwood, the fact that the allegations fall within the realm of he said/shes said makes it difficult for the league to draw any solid conclusions. And if Underwood ultimately isn’t charged, the league likely will take no action against him.
Going forward, however, the situation likely will count as a strike against Underwood in the event he faces future allegations. As Commissioner Roger Goodell said when I interviewed him for our first-ever PFT season preview magazine, “You can make a mistake or you can be targeted or set up once, maybe twice. It’s starting to develop that you’re in the wrong place with the wrong people at the wrong time.”