Two weeks ago, when the league dropped a bounty bomb late Friday afternoon, the release identified the crime without specifying the punishment.
Within a day, multiple reports indicated that discipline would come within one or two weeks. Last weekend, multiple reports indicated that the sanctions would be imposed by the end of this week.
It’s now the end of this week — the second week since the situation arose — and there has been nothing yet.
Don Banks of SI.com reports that the ruling is expected in the coming week. He’s probably right, because on March 25 owners will begin to gather in Palm Beach. All along, it has been treated as a given that the punishment would be announced before the NFL’s annual March get-together, given that the situation will be even more of a distraction if the decision is still pending.
But what would create the bigger distraction, the absence of a decision on punishment or an announcement of extensive and unprecedented penalties only a couple days before the meetings convene?
At this point, it may be better to let it ride.
Or maybe the best approach would be for Commissioner Roger Goodell to announce the discipline at a press conference to conclude the meetings? This approach would limit the media’s opportunity to formulate the most meaningful questions possible, and it wouldn’t put a dark cloud over the meetings because the meetings would be over.
Even if the Commissioner announces the penalties in this fashion without notice to the media, the media would at least have an opportunity to ask questions — and Goodell would have a chance to hammer his message home by explaining himself not through a release that pops up on a slow Friday afternoon but by saying in his own words why strong measures were needed, and how important it is that this kind of behavior never happen again.