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Conduct policy more about P.R. than fairness

Executive director of the NFL Players Association Smith and NFL Commissioner Goodell speak outside the NFL Players Association Headquarters in Washington Reuters

So why was Commissioner Roger Goodell adamant regarding the retention of his exclusive control over the league’s personal conduct policy?

It’s because, in my opinion, the conduct policy has more to do with P.R. and less to do with creating a fair, balanced, and consistent system of justice.

Though many people believe that having a big name secures favorable treatment, the opposite is true when it comes to getting in trouble with the NFL.  The bigger the name, the more likely a punishment will be imposed, because the misadventures of the most popular players create the greatest embarrassment for the league.

How else can anyone reconcile the fact that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended six games despite never been arrested or charged for sexual assault, and yet Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox continues to practice and play despite facing two years to life based on specific, detailed, and troubling allegations that he raped and impregnated a woman who had passed out at his apartment?

If Roethlisberger had allegedly done what Cox had allegedly done, the lockout wouldn’t have ended.  For Roethlisberger.

For more on the issue, check out the opening segment of Thursday’s PFT Live.

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47 Responses to “Conduct policy more about P.R. than fairness”
  1. patpatriotagain says: Aug 5, 2011 12:09 AM

    If Perrish cox had a previous history of this behavior he would be out as well. Perrish Cox was a rookie and there was no NFL history of this behavior. Ben was a known a-hole

  2. captainwisdom8888 says: Aug 5, 2011 12:10 AM

    Fairness is fictitious.

  3. Davo says: Aug 5, 2011 12:18 AM

    There should be no “opinion” about it, Goodell said it himself:

    “The answer to that is no, I’m not going to be open to that. I’m not going to hand off the brand and the reputation of the NFL to somebody who is not associated with the NFL.”

    So, yes, this is about the brand, and the higher profile players will affect the brand more, if they get into trouble.

  4. massappeal12345 says: Aug 5, 2011 12:19 AM

    So why was Commissioner Roger Goodell adamant regarding the retention of his exclusive control over the league’s personal conduct policy?

    Because he doesn’t want it to land in the hands of nObamaite judges in Minny.

  5. Andre's Johnson says: Aug 5, 2011 12:20 AM

    So?

  6. ravenspit says: Aug 5, 2011 12:22 AM

    Maybe because Cox didn’t use the “back up” of 2 PA law enforcement officers to help with the attack.

  7. hobartbaker says: Aug 5, 2011 12:24 AM

    Aren’t all punishments “P.R.” though? They used to flog people very publicly in blocks and hang them in the town square in prime time. Throwing stones from the gallery was optional. Everyone went home entertained and thinking “better them than me”.

  8. andrewfbrowne says: Aug 5, 2011 12:33 AM

    Big Ben had an extremely long history of trouble and inconsiderate acts that were well documented. It is the repeated acts that he comes down on hardest. Marshawn Lynch only got a traffic ticket for hitting that girl with his car and never was charged and got nothing from the league but when he got in trouble again that is when he got suspended.

    Michael Vick was still practicing once the allegations of his crimes surfaced and was eventually suspended.

    If you think that does not happen to Perrish Cox you are simply mistaken. It is interesting to try to figure Goodell agenda when I wonder what the host has as an agenda. Sounds like someone wants to buddy up to players so they keep coming on his show.

  9. macjacmccoy says: Aug 5, 2011 12:46 AM

    Exactly, the “fight” against concussions isnt a fight at all its only about PR. If it wasnt they wouldnt be running a continuous loop of guy suffering a severe concussion, that led to another guys concussion and subsequent collapse on the field not being recognized by that teams training staff which allowed that player to stay in the game, on their networks flag ship program Total Access.

    Im talking about Clay Matthews vicious sack on Kevin Kolb that plays dozens of times in the background on every episode of Total Access. Which allowed Stewart Bradley’s concussion and on field collapse to be overlooked .

    I have no problem with what Matthews did, it happens. It was a clean play that just happened to cause a concussion. My problem is that the NFL’s lack of recognition or lack of caring how hypocritical it is to claim they care about concussion then to go and advertise one as one of the top plays of the 2010 season. Because thats what your doing. You dont show only of few select plays dozens of times if your not proud of them.

    If they really cared about concussions they wouldnt be showing a guy receiving one off. So ya Goodell and the NFL’s personal conduct policy and player safety policy are a joke and only their for public relations and have nothing to do with actually removing these problems for the game.

  10. benh999 says: Aug 5, 2011 12:47 AM

    A suspension would likely end the career of a guy like Cox. It hardly makes a difference in Roethlisberger’s.

  11. rolandsloan says: Aug 5, 2011 12:55 AM

    I think the concern should not be the punishment
    given to Roethlisberger, which was not unfair. The
    worry is the lack of attention paid to the Perrish Cox situation to this point.
    And when these guys are making the money they
    are making, I think the expectation to behave in a responsible way is totally “fair”. If they don’t behave, the Commissioner should just say; “who
    said life is fair”?

  12. ntr0py says: Aug 5, 2011 1:03 AM

    Of course the conduct policy is about PR.

    No one ever suggested otherwise.

    Numerous NFL players were sullying the NFL brand (reducing the potential income of both the owners and players), and Roger did something about it.

  13. kmurph1226 says: Aug 5, 2011 1:13 AM

    Great, I just wasted my time reading an opinonated article. Keep it to facts por favor.

  14. giveseanpaytonhisjuicyfruit says: Aug 5, 2011 1:23 AM

    Hey Mike, how much did the NFLPA pay you to write this article?

  15. jediwrstlr says: Aug 5, 2011 1:26 AM

    What about Braylon Edwards, who continues to be arrested for DUI and is involved with shady bar fights? Where is his suspension? If repeat offenders were being targeted, why is Adam Jones in the League, Chris Henry; until he died, (RIP), Santonio Holmes was punished the league minimum for repeated drug offenses. He also had an assualt and battery on his baby mama. Yeah, but Roethlisberger was not even CHARGED with a crime, and he gets hit with the same suspension a convicted felon (Vick) got.

    B.S.

    This is a P.R. thing, and until Goodell stops working for his selected few owners, and starts treating everyone equally, people will hate him. I personally think he is the worst commisioner ever, and he is killing the sport, but hey thats just me.

  16. bjones036 says: Aug 5, 2011 1:26 AM

    Here is an idea for the players… don’t do drugs, don’t drink and drive, don’t rape chicks, don’t punt babies maybe you’ll never have a meeting with goodell about conduct

  17. zn0rseman says: Aug 5, 2011 1:27 AM

    The fact remains that if the NFL were serious about personal conduct, Micheal Vick would not be playing football in the NFL right now.

    When Rae Carruth is getting his new contract?

  18. cmack15 says: Aug 5, 2011 1:33 AM

    Hey pat… are you saying that what Cox did was OK and will not be suspended because there is no NFL history of this type of behavior due to the fact that he is a rookie? Seriously?

    The lawyer is a blowhard 99% of the time but is on the money with this

  19. siggy00 says: Aug 5, 2011 1:36 AM

    Being an A-hole isn’t a crime. Tom “Knock ‘em up and Dump ‘em” Brady is living proof.

  20. damnskins703 says: Aug 5, 2011 1:49 AM

    Goodell is a POS and he is ruining the NFL, NO FUN LEAGUE

  21. Mr. Wright 212 says: Aug 5, 2011 2:07 AM

    Of course it is about PR, and sales and league ratings. Why else did Rapelisberger NOT get a year for something that he wasn’t convicted of, while Adam Jones DID get a year for something he wasn’t convicted of?

  22. pfank11 says: Aug 5, 2011 2:09 AM

    On the surface it may seem so, but Goodell had a great deal of the evidence in this case, probably more than what became public. And what little became public was both compelling and damaging to Rothlessburger.

    Bem got very lucky that the girl (who isn’t entirely blameless because she put herself into a horrible situation) didn’t want to under go having her entire life and every decision she ever mad brought to the public by Ben’s high priced lawyers and TMZ

    Maybe Ben and the entire Steeler organizaton took that suspension so readily because the alternative wias going him to jail?????

    \

    \\

  23. cscfriarbob says: Aug 5, 2011 2:15 AM

    You’re just NOW figuring this out, MF?

    I guess better late than never, but some of us figured this out five years ago.

  24. cmarsh64 says: Aug 5, 2011 2:53 AM

    The key word is Alleged,Ben has 2 seperate Alleged sexual assault cases and got nothing for the 1st one. The second one was deemed conduct determental to the league so no formal charges where needed. He should have gotten suspended for being stupid when he bought a motorcycle and rode it without a license and no Helmet.Here is PA …but if we did that we wouldn’t have enough players to play on Sundays.

  25. CKL says: Aug 5, 2011 3:05 AM

    What’s also troubling is something I read in “Pros & Cons” a book about criminal behavior of NFL players that was published way back in the late 90s. It said that the NFL withholds positive drug test results from inquiring jurisdictions where players are on parole/ probation and a positive drug test would result in the player having violated it and would have led to consequences for that player. That’s sickening. Any idea if the NFL still does that???

  26. contract says: Aug 5, 2011 4:03 AM

    Ben should have sued the NFL and the Steelers.

  27. eagleseagleseagles says: Aug 5, 2011 4:28 AM

    Why did Ben rape more than 1 girl yet marry a freaking hottie?…Life isn’t fair even if you look from different lenses.

  28. wannabeqb says: Aug 5, 2011 4:33 AM

    @patpatriotagain

    so what you’re saying is the Perrish Cox shouldn’t be suspended because this is only the first time he has raped and impregnated a woman who had passed out at his apartment?

    I think most would agree that once is probably enough in this case.

  29. truthserum4u says: Aug 5, 2011 5:12 AM

    Good point Mike on the PR vs. fairness angle!

    But hey, even a broken clock is correct twice a day! LOL!!

  30. MichaelEdits says: Aug 5, 2011 6:28 AM

    Can anybody be fair and balanced without violating Fox’s copyright?

  31. yessams says: Aug 5, 2011 6:34 AM

    I agree with most of the article, except Favre was treated with kid gloves.

  32. welzy says: Aug 5, 2011 6:55 AM

    “Conduct policy more about P.R. than fairness”

    Why do I just want to say “Duh”? A lot of businesses have a similar policy. Don’t deal drugs or rape women or beat your wife. This shouldn’t need to be PR. This is more about trying to set a standard.

  33. sdelmonte says: Aug 5, 2011 7:49 AM

    Is it any different in other sports? As Craig has pointed out over at HBT, no one in baseball ever gets suspended for DWI arrests, but the whole world wants to see A-Rod get some sort of punishment.

  34. billybats says: Aug 5, 2011 7:59 AM

    You do realize that the troubling information regarding Perrish Cox came to light during the lockout, correct? What authority did the Commissioner have to discipline Cox during this time without getting sued by the NFLPA*?

    Instead of comparing “apples to apples”, you are trying to raise the issue of selective enforcement of the policy without considering all the factors, with the real goal of undermining the Commissioner’s authority to police the players under the Personal Conduct policy.

    Don’t think you’re fooling anyone.

  35. nemesisf96 says: Aug 5, 2011 8:00 AM

    GODdel has 2 control everything because he was bullied in high school and probably wasn’t an athlete. Now he has power for the 1st time & is abusing it just like some cops. He needs to go into law enforcement……

  36. mightymightylafootball says: Aug 5, 2011 8:04 AM

    Thanks, Capt. Obvious….

  37. 3octaveFart says: Aug 5, 2011 8:05 AM

    “It’s because, in my opinion, the conduct policy has more to do with P.R. and less to do with creating a fair, balanced, and consistent system of justice.”

    Exactly.
    Punishments seem to be handed out according to how much press the “crime” received, and little to do with the actual infraction.

    Maybe that’s what he’s referring to when he says “tarnishing the shield”.

  38. 3octaveFart says: Aug 5, 2011 8:22 AM

    Nice to see you guys finally admit Roethlisberger was unfairly targeted.

  39. flfan says: Aug 5, 2011 8:24 AM

    Favre was treated with kid gloves? really. the nfl found no evidence he sent the photos, the bimbos PI’s found no evidence and yet he was fined for not helping the nfl prove the claims of one bimbo and the website she worked for. the only reason this was in the news is because it was Favre.

  40. joe6606 says: Aug 5, 2011 8:39 AM

    Simply put, NO ONE, would have an issue with GODell being judge, jury and executioner of the conduct policy, if he ruled his monarchy with an even hand.

    Sadly, and embarassingly, he does not.

    For every guy who gets punished, there are 10-20 others who commit the same or similar acts who go completely unpunished.

    Same goes for the contact policy. For every grazing of Drew Brees which draws a fine and flag, there are literally 20 similar plays each weekend that go completely unflagged and unfined.

    It’s flatly outrageous and a perfect example of why most people think GODell is a joke.

    Implement objective standards that dont subject you to ridicule..for example, if you get arrested, you automatically get a 2 game suspension. If you plead guilty, minimum 4 games (depending on crime). DUIs..2 games. etc, etc.

    Allowing VY to unprovokedly punch someone repeatly in the face, with videotaped proof, and have him get NO punishment is ridiculous.

  41. daburgher says: Aug 5, 2011 8:42 AM

    If you idiots would actually look into the cases, watch the tapes of the alleged victim, then you would clearly know that Ben never did anything wrong, except have sex in a bathroom. I know none if you want to dig that deep b/c its easier to just hate, especially a steeler. Grow the F up.

  42. deeboisgonnaeatyourkids says: Aug 5, 2011 9:03 AM

    So Goodell is a hypocrite and has a anti-Steelers bias

    In other news, the pope is catholic, the sky is blue and Al Davis is old

  43. steelerdynasty2010 says: Aug 5, 2011 9:14 AM

    @andrewfbrowne:
    “Big Ben had an extremely long history of trouble and inconsiderate acts that were well documented”
    did he really now? other than the nevada case (also in which no wrong doing has been found, and even thinner than the GA case), what legal trouble has he been in since according to you is “extremely long”? being inconsiderate and being in legal trouble are completely separate. so should all players be subject to discipline (and specifically suspensions for at least 25% of the season) for refusing to sign autographs and being “mean” to fans and expecting special treatment when they go places? u must be goodell’s nephew or something.

    @rolandsloan:
    it was fair to suspend ben for 25% of the season for???? what exactly? just because the media reports on something, doesnt mean it happened the way they said it did. do you people actually check into this stuff or just take sal paolantonio and chris mortensen’s word on everything? consider this, the media reports on most of this stuff just be the first to report it. they pay less and less attention to the veracity of their reports and are instead obsessed with who reported it first. being first pretty much guarantees you ratings and views. what’s the incentive for correcting their mistakes, especially when so many people are willing to believe the incomplete crap they put out the first time. both charges in both places are obvious money grabs by the accusers. look it up, the information is not hard to find. look up actual legal documents and reports, not some other gossip site as your evidence.

  44. Deb says: Aug 5, 2011 12:40 PM

    @patpatriot and andrewfbrowne …

    Roethlisberger had ZERO disciplinary issues, ZERO warnings, ZERO arrests, ZERO suspensions. You guys hate the Steelers and it’s shameful that you’re incapable of sticking to the facts. You have no character at all, do you?

    A woman had a one-night stand with Ben and a year later filed a $3 million civil suit against him and her casino coworkers alleging rape. The police in that jurisdiction have said there is no evidence any assault occurred, and they have text messages from her saying she couldn’t wait to see Ben again. This is a straight-up money grab that could happen to any celebrity.

    A woman in Georgia was ragging Ben about the Nevada case when he threw her out of the party. Next thing you know, she is instigating a similar accusation. And every witness, including the accuser herself, refuted that stuff about the bodyguard at the door.

    Ben may act like an arrogant jackass, but Cox is on trial and has a BABY. That’s at least evidence of intercourse. Vince Young was arrested for assault. No disciplinary action. Brandon Underwood solicited and assaulted hookers and they retaliated by accusing his innocent teammates of rape. No disciplinary action. Pacman Jones had three years of arrests and convictions before his first suspension.

    In his own letter to Ben, Goodell said the NFL found nothing to indicate guilt but was suspending him for drunken misbehavior. He suspended him for getting drunk. Ooookay. But suspend the guys who got arrested! Goodell isn’t targeting the Steelers. He ran Brett Favre through the ringer over two-year-old junk shots that were never confirmed to be his. If you’re a “name” player, he will crucify you. If not, you can defecate on his precious shield all you like with no consequences. He is a hypocrite of the first order. And you’re hypocrites for saying it’s okay when he screws players of teams you don’t like.

  45. siggy00 says: Aug 5, 2011 2:45 PM

    Perrish Cox DENIED having sex with the woman. But then his DNA was a match with her unborn baby. Thus, he was charged.

    How he’s not being suspended, when it appears to be such an open and shut case as far as his guilt is the biggest question of all.

  46. rolandsloan says: Aug 5, 2011 3:24 PM

    Big Ben, because of who and what he is, brings more negative attention to the league when he screws up. Life is’nt fair. For the commish, it’s
    about “protecting the shield”. I will admit he needs to be more consistent.

  47. mulefunk says: Aug 5, 2011 10:28 PM

    All of the BS that I have seen on this site and others in regards to Roethlisberger’s alleged past misdeeds, is bull dung.

    Everything you have heard is lies and slander that was introduced to the media in an effort to slander the man.

    Regardless of what team the guy plays for if he is innocent I will stand up for him and not get bogged down into childlike homerism.

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