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League should take draft picks from teams with a rash of off-field issues

The 2012 NFL Draft Getty Images

When it comes to players who dispense illegal hits, fines are met with shrugs.  The same can be said for teams that employ players who engage in illegal acts.

And so, as the Detroit Lions dust off a four-year-old formula for paying to the league office salary that otherwise would have been paid to suspended players, once the second player on the roster is suspended in a given year, we’ll dust off an argument we’ve previously made, too.

Just as a suspension is the only way to get a player’s attention, the only way to get a team’s attention is to take away draft picks.

If the Lions will be kicking 25 percent or 33 percent or 50 percent or more of the money that otherwise would have been paid to the suspended players during their suspensions, who cares?  It’s part of the cost of doing business.

But if the Lions were to lose a seventh-round pick for a second suspension and if the stripped pick were to climb to a sixth-rounder after a third suspension, and so on, the Lions perhaps wouldn’t be quite so cavalier about topics like whether they’re drafting too many players who have a thing for marijuana.

The threat of taking draft picks would give teams an incentive both to shy away from players with a history of off-field trouble — and to do whatever reasonably can be done to help current players avoid behavior that would result in suspensions.

It’s yet another idea that makes far too much sense to ever be adopted.  But that won’t stop us from mentioning it from time to time, especially if more and more members of the Lions continue to get arrested this year.

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28 Responses to “League should take draft picks from teams with a rash of off-field issues”
  1. lionsfan14 says: Jun 26, 2012 11:47 PM

    Yes I am a Lions fan and its embarrassing to keep hearing players getting arrested and acting like immature children. But what pisses me off is that people get pissed at the Lions coaches and staff. They cant do anything except yell at them. Under the rules of the CBA they cant suspend them or apply other discipline. These idiots are suppose to be grown ass men, and the coaches cant hold their effing hand when they go back home. This isnt college ball where you can keep an eye on them. During the offseason the coaches and staff can only hope that their players act thier age.

  2. mt99808 says: Jun 26, 2012 11:52 PM

    This is so beyond stupid. How would NBC feel if it started losing broadcast rights to games when 2 of its employees commit criminal acts in the course of their personal lives.

    Maybe as a country/state/county you should reconsider the seriousness of DUI and correspondingly stiffer penalties. Nobody has ever died from smoking pot yet people go to prison for it while DUI is treated as a traffic offense with a small slap on the wrist when it results in the deaths of thousands of people a year.

  3. kacapaco says: Jun 26, 2012 11:57 PM

    This is the most ridiculous suggestion ever. You want the org that is ashamed by its employee to be punished for a behavior they can’t either control or predict? The same logic will also lead to punishing the league for not identifying n blocking the same players from being drafted. This is absurd.

  4. coltsluckdynasty says: Jun 27, 2012 12:02 AM

    It’s about this franchise doing the right thing, and sending a message to these players. I’m not a lawyer, agent, or anyone for that matter. Is there language in the contracts that holds players accountable for off field issues? Up to and including termination of a contract, with no financial liabilty to any player arrested for any offense? Just wondering, because that seems like a logical scenario. I know the nflpa would have a say in this, but come on, in the real world, if I get arrested, my employer can and will fire me for any offense. Like I said, I dont know, and may be ignorant to this, but seems like a logical solution. The other problem is, if the player is good, the team will turn a blind eye, and let the league decide a punishment. Oh well, I know I’m not risking millions to smoke a joint, or drink and drive. I wouldn’t do it to risk my 1,000,000 I will make after 20 years of working…

  5. newguy925 says: Jun 27, 2012 12:15 AM

    How is taking picks away going to stop players from getting in trouble/making bad decisions?

    So these guys get drafted in the 3rd or 4th instead of the 1st or 2nd? Either way they lose money for making bad decisions.

    How do you suggest teams predict a players tendency toward DUI?

    The NFL already has their tolerances set for these behaviors with precedents set regarding suspensions and fines, do we really need to go farther and act punitively toward the franchises?

  6. backdraft440 says: Jun 27, 2012 12:18 AM

    I think the league should be fined for letting these players in the league to begin with. Piss on Roger Goodell

  7. dclogicatlast says: Jun 27, 2012 12:23 AM

    Legalize it

  8. jonirocit says: Jun 27, 2012 12:24 AM

    Great idea I don’t get how anyone could say it absurd . Maybe you disagree ?

  9. Soulman45 says: Jun 27, 2012 12:55 AM

    THE GREAT DETROIT LIONS
    It look like the team have a problem their is nothing the team can do but try and talk to them or cut them so they can go be a star for someone else won’t work the Lions got hit hard this year next year it will happen to another team.
    So be it the big boys have work to do.

  10. timg313 says: Jun 27, 2012 1:24 AM

    What do you really expect the Lions to do? Cut the players so another team can pick them up? Let’s say Lions do that, they cut Nick Fairley and LeShoure.. how fast are they picked up? I would stake my nonexistent reputation they would be signed by the end of the week. How does that benefit the Lions? Bottom line is the punishments fit the crimes. These guys are paying more for a dui then 99.99% of society. So the view from the high horse is easy when you are not making decisions on your roster. It does suck that it has taken us this long to get to respectability only to throw that away by being stupid, but they are a team with young kids. and to be 100% honest I do not know too many 22 and under kids that do not smoke weed and drink and drive.

  11. piemasteruk says: Jun 27, 2012 1:25 AM

    This idea is not good and doesn’t even remotely make sense. The team are already punished enough when the player does something away from the facility that is, quite frankly, nothing to do with them. NFL franchises are not crèches, the people they employ as players are all over 21. Are they supposed to send them to compulsory seminary on the dangers of drink-driving? Fit them with ankle tags? Install CCTV cameras in their homes?

  12. gromgrimfist says: Jun 27, 2012 3:09 AM

    @mt99808 people that die with THC in there systems in auto accidents are not called classified as a marijuana related death but people with alcohol is. How many of those people have both? Teen deaths how many off them were high at the time impairing there judgment or reaction time. I forget now which college it was but they did a study and people at .08 actually had a better reaction time then people who were high. I smoked alot when I was younger too I know the effects of marijuana don’t get me wrong drinking and driving is bad I am not defending that but marijuana is just as bad plus it is a gate way for many people into other things alot worse then both it is illegal to bootleg liquor just like its illegal to sell marijuana

  13. tvousa says: Jun 27, 2012 3:57 AM

    Three strikes you’re out.
    1. You got 4 games suspended.
    2. You got 8 games suspended.
    3. Pay back all the unearned bonuses and banned for life.

    You couldn’t make the same mistake 3 times beside you are unthinkable human being.

  14. randallflagg52 says: Jun 27, 2012 4:25 AM

    Some guys just slip up every once in a while and you can’t really fault a team for a guy making a bad choice. Yet some teams (Detroit, Dallas, Cincy) have made a habit in recent years of looking past character flaws and focusing only on talent, and you see how that has turned out in terms of team and individual success. You can’t fix this by docking draft picks, that won’t fix a thing. Instead keep suspending the offenders and if the GM or President or whomever keeps it up he’ll be fired by any halfway decent owner.

    IDK what to do though if the owner is also the GM (Dallas, Cincy), but those team’s suck in the playoffs for a reason.

  15. joetoronto says: Jun 27, 2012 4:45 AM

    The organization DOES have control though.

    How do you explain all the teams that DON’T have this issue?

    Don’t draft turds, period.

  16. swagjag says: Jun 27, 2012 6:51 AM

    Punish a team with a scouting department that doesn’t do their homework by taking away draft picks. Brilliant.

  17. santolonius says: Jun 27, 2012 7:29 AM

    this would give a player who knows he’s on the bubble of making the roster incentive to go get a d.u.i. to eliminate competition from the draft board…

  18. gpete1962 says: Jun 27, 2012 7:47 AM

    Goodell has to much power now and you want to give him more.

    Why don’t you just let the Obama administration run the NFL and limit the all players weight 200lbs.

  19. NFLJunkie says: Jun 27, 2012 7:53 AM

    It’s yet another idea that makes far too much sense to ever be adopted.

    Says you. I see a whole lot of problems in trying to implement something like this.

    Short of encouraging complete blackballing of any kid who did something stupid in college — which seems wrong for different reasons if you believe at all in second chances — how does this really work?

    Assuming it’s not specific to marijuana issues and applies to things like DUIs too, do the Jaguars get in more trouble for using a high pick on a guy with a history than a team who merely took a chance on a player as a UDFA because they weren’t completely sold on his character?

    And if you do your due diligence and draft a guy without any prior red flags, and then something bad happens off the field that warrants suspension…that doesn’t count towards losing a draft pick?

    What about the CBA? Will it back you up now if you want to cut a “questionable” guy who failed a random drug test, and now you know he hasn’t lived up to his end? Because it used to be harder to do that under the CBA than to cut a guy who broke curfew in training camp.

    Seems to me this is a lot harder to enforce equitably than you make it sound.

  20. jgedgar70 says: Jun 27, 2012 8:11 AM

    Punishments for violations of the law should be written in the contract. And who cares what the NFLPA thinks about it. If I go on a 2-week vacation from my job and get arrested for DUI while I’m out, I can – and probably will – get fired for it. Pro athletes should face the same fate as everyone else.

  21. realcoachjack says: Jun 27, 2012 8:13 AM

    It’s a good idea in theory, but not practice. Because, once these ‘grown men’ leave their office, they are free to do what they will. The REAL problem is when you draft athletes of questionable character, eventually, they will remove any doubt of what the question was and be that character.

    Suggestion: When a player tells you by his previous actions that he is trouble, believe him. He’s not kidding.

  22. pftbillsfan says: Jun 27, 2012 8:58 AM

    I think a better punishment is dollar, dollar fines. If the owner and GM’s face significant monetary fines for player transgressions it will cut it down. Imagine a fee schedule that costs a gm $50,000 for a marijuana related offense. $100,000 offense for a DWI, $$250,000 for assault. Owners would foot the bill for GM’s and in turn the Nick Fairleys and other guys would have real incentives to stay clean. NO HOPE IN DOPE

  23. mellymel86 says: Jun 27, 2012 9:40 AM

    Punish a team with a scouting department that doesn’t do their homework by taking away draft picks. Brilliant.
    ______
    I’d say so. Gives them less homework to do

  24. CKL says: Jun 27, 2012 12:38 PM

    Coaches can take away their playtime or status as a starter if they are displeased. That’s about it. Think what BB did to WW for the playoff game vs the NYJ..and Welker’s never been an off field problem. Players hate when their stage is taken away.

  25. bigwalt2990 says: Jun 27, 2012 3:06 PM

    If this were to happen, then the NFL cannot allow questionable character players to enter the draft. Thats the worst idea I’ve ever heard. Punishing a team for unknowns. Punishing them for players that were available to ALL TEAMS when the draft took place. But now that it’s the Lions…no wonder people want things to change. No one wants us getting good.

  26. lioncrazy says: Jun 27, 2012 5:16 PM

    Going after the Team is about as assinine as it gets for off field incidents. Can you imagine if all employers were accountable for the actions of the employees while not at work. What needs to be done, is to hold the “individual” accountable and throw their butt in jail regardless if it interferes while playing within the football season . As well as, requiring the same actions required by the Court. If games or practices or whatever is interrupted causing the player to miss them, too bad, their actions caused it.

  27. jacksprat57 says: Jul 7, 2012 4:57 AM

    coltsluckdynasty: You’re missing the critical difference between them and you “in the real world.” They’re rare and valuable talents. You, on the other hand, ARE the proverbial plugged nickel.

  28. jacksprat57 says: Jul 7, 2012 5:05 AM

    “Three strikes you’re out.
    1. You got 4 games suspended.
    2. You got 8 games suspended.
    3. Pay back all the unearned bonuses and banned for life.

    You couldn’t make the same mistake 3 times beside you are unthinkable human being.” –tvousa

    Let’s try it: You’ve just made one really dumb post. You’re suspended from the internet for 4 months. Penalty for violating the ban is three years at hard labor.

    Hey, this is fun!

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