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Snelling situation proves team can take action, despite CBA

Snelling Getty Images

In the wake of Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe’s arrest for marijuana possession, some media outlets trumpeted (incorrectly) the notion that the team can’t take action against Bowe because the labor deal gives exclusive jurisdiction over such matters to the NFL.

And now the Falcons have shut down running back Jason Snelling for Sunday’s game at Tampa after an arrest for — you guessed it — marijuana possession.

“We are disappointed in what has transpired over the last 48 hours concerning Jason Snelling,” coach Mike Smith said in a statement issued by the team.  “Any time one of our players is involved in an off the field incident we take it very seriously.  Jason missed practice on Friday.  After speaking with him yesterday, Jason has decided to take some personal time to deal with his situation and will miss tomorrow’s game.  We anticipate him rejoining our team Monday morning.”

Technically, it appears Snelling has requested a weekend off.  As a practical matter, the request quite possibly was made at the suggestion of the team.  And Snelling wouldn’t be in position to fight it, given that his conduct created the mess that the Falcons are trying to clean up.

Snelling’s situation is different from Bowe’s because Snelling’s incident caused him to miss practice.  Still, the team technically would be limited to fining him for missing practice (up to $10,440) and/or suspending him without pay for conduct detrimental to the team.

It’ll be interesting to know whether he’ll be paid for the game, given that the game check covers not only the game itself but the week of practices and meetings and other team-related activities.  If Snelling isn’t being paid, he’ll lose $50,240.

The Falcons aren’t elaborating at this point, and it’s unlikely that Snelling will be inclined to admit that he may have gotten his arm a tad twisted into staying home this weekend.  Regardless, teams can do plenty of things in response to a player arrest; the question is whether the team wants to.

If nothing else, the team can choose to make the player in question one of the seven men per game who are paid to not suit up.  The Falcons could have done it with Snelling (indeed, he’ll undoubtedly be listed as inactive for the game), and the Chiefs could have done it with Bowe.

The fact that Snelling is a reserve and Bowe is a key starter may have had something to do with the differences in decision making.  Regardless, teams can take action if they want.

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12 Responses to “Snelling situation proves team can take action, despite CBA”
  1. stunzeed5 says: Nov 16, 2013 11:36 PM

    All drugs are illegal and if you get caught; you should be busted by the maximum extent of the law. Mary Jane makes people lazy and a drag on society.

  2. gmenfan1982 says: Nov 16, 2013 11:42 PM

    Ridiculous that in this day and age where we are all much more educated that a person gets in trouble for marijuana possession. If I was GM and he was on my team Id ask for coach to give him more playing time. Weed is good.

  3. rcali says: Nov 16, 2013 11:43 PM

    Well, there is a bit of a difference here. The Falcons season is pretty much over and they want to set a precedent. Snelling is not their future and a easy example to make. The Chiefs are in it to win it. Next Question!

  4. doctorrustbelt says: Nov 17, 2013 12:24 AM

    Low character hgh/steroid abuser tony gonzalez shutting it down to stay healthy for another year.

    Snelling getting shut down by the team.

    The Falcons want a higher draft choice.

  5. packafan4life says: Nov 17, 2013 12:48 AM

    8-0 teams don’t bench players for pot.

    Terrible teams like the Falcons bench them to make news.

    End of story.

  6. 4daytheory says: Nov 17, 2013 1:07 AM

    … And the fact that one of them plays for a contending team and the other, well, can afford to make examples.

  7. jacobslatter says: Nov 17, 2013 1:18 AM

    Toking for Clowney.

  8. jeffperk says: Nov 17, 2013 2:26 AM

    Big difference between 3rd string RB & starting star WR. Teams only throw the book at their players when it’s easy for them. Then they claim the moral high ground & beat their chest. Let it be one of their starters, then they let them play.

  9. jjb0811 says: Nov 17, 2013 7:48 AM

    Goes to prove Sam Huard is probably right. Passing drug test is easy in the NFL. I’m skeptical that Snelling stated smoking at age 30.

  10. stealthscorpio says: Nov 17, 2013 8:06 AM

    If the Falcons were in the Chiefs position as far as record and playoffs it might make a difference as well.

  11. pizark2 says: Nov 17, 2013 8:45 AM

    Sad a 3rd stringer makes in 3 hours what I make in a year…

  12. ashevillechief says: Nov 17, 2013 8:52 AM

    Snelling was also on the Injury list, I think Questionable, before the incident. Makes sense from all angles to sit him.

    That said, the different team decisions is absolutely about Bowe being a starter.

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