As usual, pleading guilty doesn’t end an NFL player’s issues. From the perspective of his employment, the guilty plea often begins them.
The final charges — reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, and drunk driving — implicate the personal-conduct policy and the substance-abuse policy. Punishment, in theory, could be implemented under either or both of those standards.
The Steelers suspended Ta’amu for two games without pay in the wake of the arrest. Despite the fact that teams have no authority to discipline players for violations of the personal-conduct policy or the substance-abuse policy, the punishment wasn’t challenged by the player or the NFLPA in the hopes, we were told at the time, that a second suspension wouldn’t be imposed.
For now, it remains to be seen what the NFL will do, given the relatively extreme facts of Ta’amu’s case. In fairness to Ta’amu, the three officers he encountered and evaded (and nearly ran over first with his car and later with his body) were off duty and not in uniform.
Still, this was far more involved and dangerous than a run-of-the-mill DUI, and it won’t be a surprise if the league office takes further action against Ta’amu.