With Judge Helen G. Berrigan still pondering the legitimacy of 31 games in total suspensions for four players accused of participation in a pay-for-performance/bounty program, the NFL suspended Titans receiver Kenny Britt only one game for his 10th run-in with the law in three years.
Technically, Britt’s situation has no relevance to the bounty cases. Suspended under an entirely different policy covering an entirely different set of circumstances, there’s no valid connection between Britt’s suspension and the bounty suspensions.
But Judge Berrigan, or one of her law clerks, will undoubtedly become aware of the Britt suspension. And she may look at Britt’s suspension and wonder why the league has gone so easy on a repeat offender who was given fair warning from the league last August that he’d better stay out of trouble and then he got in trouble again and still got only one game, while Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma got a full year for something that allegedly happened three years ago — and that he loudly denies doing. Coupled with wobbly evidence from unnamed witnesses, Judge Berrigan may be even more determined to find a way to correct a perceived injustice that could seem even more unjust when compared to Britt’s arguable slap on the wrist.
We suspect Judge Berrigan already was planning to rule for Vilma and the other players, on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. The one-game suspension of Britt will serve only to make her feel more confident that she has made the right decision — regardless of whether an appeals court eventually tells her otherwise.