Jets' handling of Edwards is consistent with other DUI cases

The Jets have found themselves in the middle of another storm consisting of something other than a four-letter word that starts with “s” and isn’t “sand” based on the DUI arrest of receiver Braylon Edwards and the decision not to deactivate him for Sunday night’s game.

But the reality is that no team deactivates a key player in his first game after a DUI arrest.  As Peter King pointed out during our Stanford-Notre Dame halftime stint on Saturday (the video is pasted below), the Dolphins didn’t do it to running back Ronnie Brown, who was arrested in the offseason.  Two years ago, the Giants didn’t do it to tackle Kareem McKenzie

So why should the Jets have done it to Edwards, the first Jets player arrested on coach Rex Ryan’s watch?  It’s a fair question as to whether the Jets are being treated fairly.

That said, the Steelers had no qualms about shutting down receiver Santonio Holmes two years ago after he was cited for marijuana possession, even though doing so technically violated the labor deal.  (Some in the league believe a grievance was filed by the union; a source with knowledge of the situation has no knowledge of any grievance being filed.)  The Colts also didn’t hesitate to cut defensive tackle Ed Johnson after a marijuana arrest in 2008.  (A grievance later was filed.)  Though neither case involved DUI charges, it’s fair to conclude that if the teams that have won three of the last five Super Bowls were willing to take such action after the largely victimless crime of marijuana possession would have shut down these players if they had been charged with the inherently serious and dangerous crime of drunk driving.

In our view, the Jets invited the criticism they’ve faced, in various ways.  First, they traded for Edwards two days after he was arrested for assault.  Maybe they didn’t put him on a short leash when they gave Edwards his second chance; if they didn’t they should have.  Second, the Jets have welcomed the scrutiny that comes with the attention they craved.  Third, the Jets created an expectation that Edwards would be disciplined more severely than a benching of vague duration (King thinks it’ll last for a quarter) by publicly wagging a finger at Edwards after the arrest and promising “appropriate disciplinary measures.”  In hindsight, they should have done what other teams do in these situations — issue a perfunctory statement acknowledging the situation and deferring any further comment until the legal process runs its course.

By all appearances, the Jets wanted to have it both ways.  They wanted to express anger about the situation publicly without imposing meaningful discipline.  Why?  Not because they want to respect the labor deal, but because they want to see on the field the guy who scored two touchdowns in two games last year against the Dolphins.

Indeed, the Jets easily could have navigated the terms of the CBA by explaining on Tuesday that a decision about whether Edwards should be one of the 45 of 53 players to dress on Sunday night will be made after observing him in practice and assessing whether he is sufficiently focused on football — and whether his presence with the team on the trip to Miami will in any way diminish their focus on football.  G.M. Mike Tannenbaum, a lawyer, is smart enough to craft a way around the labor deal. 

He’s also smart enough to publicly promise discipline and then explain that the labor deal prevents a disciplinary deactivation.


8 responses to “Jets' handling of Edwards is consistent with other DUI cases

  1. Tannenbaum is a lawyer, so that makes him smart? He seems just as buffoonish as most attorneys, which is pretty damn buffoonish.

  2. Quoting Danny Glover in one of my favorite movies, “Right or wrong, right now beer is legal, grass ‘aint.” Might be the difference in disciplinary action. I agree that right now DUI is far more serious and dangerous than possessing Mary Jane. But the law doesn’t see it that way, and as such, disciplinary action may be more easily attained in the grass offenses.

  3. Three faces only a mother could love. Good commentary though. Hard knocks hangover, haha.
    We can point out that someone with a lot of time on their hands did the math and figured the percentage of NFL DUIs is still below the US national average of DUIs per capita or some other silly equation.
    But not everyone in the US plays on national TV every week either.
    Someone else previously posted a complete list of recent DUIs this year that also did not require anyone to miss playing time.
    9/3/2010 Fili Moala Indianapolis DT Arrested, charged with drunken driving, speeding, after being stopped at 2:30 a.m. Blood-alcohol content measured 0.15.
    8/8/2010 Gerard Lawson Cleveland DB Arrested, charged with DUI after hitting parked car. Sheriff deputies said he left scene of accident. Pleaded no contest in plea deal. Received punishment of 20 hours of community service, one year probation, 72 hours of “alternative to jail program,” six months suspended license.
    7/3/2010 Quinton Ganther Seattle RB Arrested on suspicion of DUI in Sacramento.
    7/1/2010 Chris Simms Tennessee QB Arrested, charged with driving while intoxicated with marijuana in New York.
    6/13/2010 Ray McDonald San Francisco DL Arrested on suspicion of DUI in San Mateo County. He reportedly was driving 94 mph in 65-mph zone.
    3/27/2010 Joey Porter Arizona LB Arrested on suspicion of DUI in Bakersfield. Also accused of assaulting police officer and resisting arrest. Dropped for lack of evidence.
    3/19/2010 Ronnie Brown Miami RB Arrested on suspicion of DUI near Atlanta after being pulled over for changing lanes without signaling. Blood-alcohol content of .158.
    3/13/2010 Spencer Havner Green Bay TE Arrested in California on suspicion of DUI after motorcycle accident around 2:45 a.m.
    2/20/2010 Will Allen Miami CB Arrested, charged with DUI about 3:30 a.m. in Miami Beach. Breath tests showed blood-alcohol content at .152 and .167.
    2/19/2010 Byron Westbrook Washington CB Arrested on suspicion of DUI just before 2 a.m. in Maryland. Acquitted.
    1/29/2010 Rey Maualuga Cincinnati LB Arrested on DUI charge in Kentucky after hitting a parking meter and two parked cars with his 2003 Pontiac. Pleaded guilty, blood-alcohol-conten t of .157, suspended sentence of seven days in jail, $350 in fines, two years probation, fined two game checks by NFL.
    1/1/2010 Taj Smith Indianapolis WR Arrested on suspicion of DUI after being pulled over at 3:24 a.m.

  4. When will DUI become something about which we are embarrassed instead of just something we wag a finger at before moving on to more important things like football games?
    You want to do something Jets? Bench him for something else. Tell the world that he’s riding the pine for an undisclosed practice infraction. You will be within the labor deal and we will all know that a stupid millionaire is paying a price that will actually hurt him, which is the point of our system of legal punishments.
    “Not because they want to respect the labor deal, but because they want to see on the field the guy who scored two touchdowns in two games last year against the Dolphins”
    And Mr. F- your placement of prepositional phrases always makes me laugh.

  5. Uhhh, when and what in the hell is the Big Bad Commissioner going to do!?
    I’m shocked to not have seen any perfunctory psychoanalysis as of yet from PFT, seems like turdwatch disdain is directed more toward the team rather than the player this time… lol! Who could blame Florio – ha…
    Where oh where is the big bad commish…

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