Given that the incident involving defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth allegedly fondling a waitress occurred before the lockout started and in light of the fact that it was resolved after the lockout ended, Haynesworth doesn’t fall within the group of players who potentially face discipline for off-duty misconduct occurring at a time when all players were involuntarily off of duty.
And so the league undoubtedly will “review” the case under the Personal Conduct Policy. (Indeed, that’s precisely what NFL spokesman Greg Aiello just told me via e-mail.)
Hayneworth’s history could haunt him in this regard. Though it happened nearly five years ago, he once applied a cleat to the forehead of Cowboys center Andre Gurode during a game. He received a five-game suspension for that incident.
Also, given that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended six games (reduced to four) without ever being arrested or charged with rape, Haynesworth “no contest” plea to
sexual simple assault should result in a significant punishment, if there’s any consistency or fairness in the Personal Conduct Policy. (And even though Haynesworth pleaded “no contest” only — only? — to simple assault, the fact remains that the assault was against a woman, and that he was charged originally with sexual abuse.)
Then there’s the fact that Haynesworth widely is regarded as a bad guy. He’ll likely get no sympathy from the league office, and the only hope he has now is that Commissioner Roger Goodell will chose to go easy on Haynesworth given that he plays for the team owned by Robert Kraft, who was so instrumental in getting the labor deal resolved.
Speaking of the Patriots, they possibly will move swiftly to cut him, taking the position that they traded for him only after he insisted privately to the franchise that he wasn’t guilty of the crime. (If that happens, he’d likely make a bee line for the Dream Team, where his former position coach in Tennessee is a member of the staff.)
The only good news, if there is any, for Haynesworth is that, per a source with knowledge of the situation, the case will be completely dismissed if he stays out of trouble for 18 months. By then, however, whatever penalty imposed by the league likely will have been completely served.