Lions could, but likely won’t, discipline trouble-making players

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With four of the Lions’ five 2011 draft picks finding trouble this offseaon, the question becomes whether the Lions will do anything about it.  Other than telling receiver Titus Young (pictured) to take a break from OTAs — and then insisting that he hadn’t been suspended even though no one ever reported or claimed that he was — the Lions have done nothing to punish their second-year players who have stepped in No. 2.

In two cases, twice.

But despite defensive tackle Nick Fairley’s pair of arrests and running back Mikel Leshoure’s pair of marijuana incidents and defensive tackle Johnny Culbreath’s single marijuana issue (ain’t it sad that we have to actually point out that a guy has had only one off-field incident?), the Lions aren’t expected to take action, as explained by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday’s PFT Live.

Technically, teams can’t take action against players who have gotten in trouble away from the field.  The CBA reserves to the league office the ability to fine and/or suspend players who have violated the substance-abuse policy and/or the personal-conduct policy.  But the CBA also allows teams to suspend players for up to four games for conduct detrimental to the team, and plenty of teams have taken action pursuant to that relatively vague and broad authority, even if the underlying conduct otherwise falls under the substance-abuse policy or the personal-conduct policy.

The ultimate question becomes whether and to what extent the player intends to fight the punishment.  If the player chooses not to fight, it doesn’t matter whether the team is implementing discipline that it technically can’t.

So, basically, if the Lions wanted to make a statement, they could.  For now, it’s safe to assume that they simply don’t want to.


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46 responses to “Lions could, but likely won’t, discipline trouble-making players

  1. It seems this behavior embodies what the Lions are trying to sell, and the team feels this is anything but detrimental.

  2. I told you before…it’s all talk. Schwartz came out and said (1) he was angry and disappointed about the arrests and (2) he warned players not to get into trouble. Nothing about stopping.

  3. They would shoot themselves in the foot if they discipline them. If they fine or suspend a player that the nfl intends to discipline they will force the nfl to “out do” the team by handing down a harsher fine or suspension then the lions. At this point it is best just to sit back and wait for the comish

  4. You must not be getting the info you want outta the Lions staff eh? So now you have to vent here eh? As if Schwartz could do anything to make the haters all happy eh? The Linda will be fine. All you haters on the other hand need some help. Good luck.

  5. Having spoken with Leshoure about his arrests, Fairley tried to eat his Escalade before the cops caught up to him. But he’d barely gotten through the upholstery on the front seats when they pulled up.

  6. If Titus Young had any honor and actually squared-up with Delmas…Louis would bury that little punk. I can see why he decided just to sneak the guy like a snake.

  7. Dont want to say anything to the players when they get in trouble. They might get mad and not perform worth a _____. Oh, wait.. they already play for shat.

  8. I expect 4 games each for Leshoure and Fairley. Culbreath if he even makes the roster maybe just the substance abuse program since it’s a 1st offense. Young? Get off it Florio, it’s not even in the same league as the other knuckleheads. T.O. would have been out of the league years ago and fights happen in practice all the time. The kid apologized to the OFFENSE, but he needs to talk with Delmas and set that straight. No Lions fan is happy about ANY of this, and you need to try and ride a different horse then the Anti Detroit one you been on for that last few years.

  9. Oh yeah, where’s that article about Steve Smith breaking his starting CB’s jaw?

  10. The Detroit Lions are pretty much the Cincinati Bengals. Two teams and two fan bases so desperate for a change of fortune that anything goes…..

  11. In Fairley’s defense regarding his latest arrest, he had no way of knowing the car he was passing at 100 mph was emblazoned with the words “State Trooper”.

    You try mixing a drink while doing 100 mph, drunker than a Kennedy on a four day weekend.

    Reading, my friends, can wait until Tuesday.

  12. The Lions brass seems to keep everything close to the vest. I think you are wrong in saying the Lions haven’t done anything to punish the guys in trouble. I will admit they have not made it public, but I don’t believe they have just blown it off.

    Although Schwartz does not make it known to the media what is done, I have read enough of the other players comments to know that it is addressed when guys get in trouble. The media cracks me up making such a big deal over three guys on one team out of about 90 players right now.

    These guys were not questioned or involved in a murder (R Lewis), or rape (Ben Roethlisberger) and they were not caught with several pounds of pot (someone with Bengals) They were caught smoking a little pot, ( who hasn’t done that throw the first stone. Diving fast after a few drinks ( not good but don’t say you never did it around early 20’s, and a fight in football camp. Oh boy we should kill them all, and label them as prison convects.

    I’m not excusing what they did, it was wrong and I hope they get back on track. I just don’t think they should be labeled as some type of common criminal yet. Sure they could have been if Fairley had wrecked and killed someone he would deserve everything he is getting, or if LeShore had been caught dealing those drugs, or hurt someone while driving, oh wait he wasn’t driving he was in the passenger seat eating the pot he should have been smoking. C’mon this is kids doing stupid kid stuff. Lets all just hope they grow up and learn before they really do hurt someone or themselves.

  13. lions wont discipline players, … which is exactly why they keep making a spectacle out of their organization. show leadership, accountability and discipline and you may have a respectable organization someday. until then you are becoming the embarrassment of the league.

  14. Not a single new shred of information has come out since the last incident, and you’ve posted at least a half dozen articles condemning the Lions brass.

    I’ll do your next corny one-liner for you:

    “You and this horse are like Ndamukong Suh and Evan Dietrich-Smith”

  15. Bengals North…

    Seriously it’s getting pretty crazy up there in Detroit. Schwartz seems like an above average coach, especially compared to typical Detroit standards, but he better get a reign on this team and quick. Top teams don’t have this kind of crap happen and if they hope to ever be counted as a top team this has to stop. First round pick arrested twice in a matter of weeks with a looming suspension, both second rounders acting like punks, Suh going into ‘roid rages, I hope for Lions fans it stops, they don’t deserve it after 50 years of crap teams.

    At least Matt Stafford doesn’t look like a bust anymore and Calvin Johnson is a down to earth guy who stays out of trouble, otherwise that’d be game over for the Schwartz era.

  16. Oh great another story about the ” dirty ” lions … Maybe bears should suspended Marshall for beating up a woman 2 months ago … Or hey let’s talk about that other bears player who was cought selling 100,000 dollars in blow .. Let’s also not talk about peppers … One of the dirtiest players in the league

  17. I hope the Lions get a hold of it and don’t turn into the Bengals.

    The NFL does NOT need any more teams like the Bengals.

  18. You guys can hate all you want, I ll support my team to the end, I’ve seen a 0-16 season and a decade of crap so if my team has some issues but we win, that’s all that matters, and in all reality before this draft class we had a 6 year period with no arrests, so this whole notion that were out of control is just dumb, dumb people on pft hating for no reason

  19. dirtmcgirt24 says: May 30, 2012 11:48 PM

    It seems this behavior embodies what the Lions are trying to sell, and the team feels this is anything but detrimental.

    Right…. cause that goes right along with Schwartz saying that these players are hurting the reputations of the other players on the roster. (Which he did this week).

    This stuff is getting blown out of proportion. Like a lot of the stuff last year. It’s a young team they’ll grow up.

  20. And in other news, Terrell Owens is signed today by the Lions… Dysfunction Junction, here we come!

  21. bchapman2011 – I can see the logic in your post, but at this stage it is very important that the Lions management send out a strong message to the whole team about what behavior is acceptable and what isn’t.

    They shouldn’t be sitting back hoping to score a lenient punishment, they should be proactively disciplining these individuals to demonstrate what happens when you step out of line, no matter your talent level.

    For the record, I like the Lions – they have been bottom-dwellers for what seems like forever – I do however think their attempt to draft talent with little or no regard to team chemistry is going to set them back again.

  22. The team is telling them their OK with this. It’s the League that’s bent out of shape about it.

    These guys represent the Lions and teh city of Detroit, and it’s all good.

  23. BAH, talent trumps all…ever heard that fellas? I’ve been 0-16 with a bunch of choir boys and 10-6 with little to no help from 2 rooks of a 5 man class, and Titus only came on late. If given the choice between pitty and laughter for on field suck or have stones thrown from fans of a team that has NEVER had arrested players before I choose the 2nd option with a quickness…and despite all the negative comments toward my team here I’m still waiting for those stones to come flying from those fans whose team has never had an arrest

  24. renmasters says:
    May 31, 2012 6:54 AM

    Right…. cause that goes right along with Schwartz saying that these players are hurting the reputations of the other players on the roster. (Which he did this week).

    This stuff is getting blown out of proportion. Like a lot of the stuff last year. It’s a young team they’ll grow up.


    Now I know why Chrysler claims their cars are “imported from Detroit”. Between you saying nearly an entire draft class being in trouble with the law is being blown out of proportion and the clown above saying it doesn’t matter what happens as long as they win games, it’s clear the Detroit fans are living in another world.

  25. I can see the argument of “we call attention to ourselves if WE suspend these guys”. However this won’t escape the leagues notice. There is some sort of penalty coming. I think this has more to do with keeping the players placated and loyal to the team….. I hope the other players in the locker room pull these guys to the side though. Whether you like it or not the actions of a few knuckleheads make the whole team look like knuckleheads.

  26. The lions shouldnt have to tell “grown” men that drivibg drunk and smoking weed is wrong. These guys know the law and choose to break it. The lions are nit the new bungals just people piling on, all this means is detroit is relevant in sports and ot doesnt take a microscope to notice the police bulletins. If these guys produce when there back on the field all will be forgotten not forgiven but forgotten…Go leos

  27. And in other news that’s been completely beaten, far worse than the proverbial dead horse even, did you guys know that Ndamukong Suh stomped on someones arm last year?

  28. @ dirtmcgirt24
    O.D.B.! Where u been? I thought u died a few yrs ago….. Or is that you Suh, u trickster u!

  29. @mylionsroaring,
    When not taking controlled substances is a condition of employment and is tested for, yes it’s beyond dumb to do it. When driving drunk is absolutely inexcusable due to free rides programs for one thing, yes it’s fair to “throw stones” as you put it. I’d throw ’em at my own team too.

  30. How come the Packers never did anything to address the Erik Walden incident where he beat up his gf after the thanksgiving day game last year? How come they never did anything to Underwood for sexually assaulting 2 women after their ring ceremony? Wasn’t Walden’s gf pregnant too? HIPPOCRATES!!!

  31. The Lions are a bunch of cheaters, liars, instigators, and undisciplined punks. They have too much talent on that team to fail so consistently… and it all starts up top. As long as your coach has the maturity and restraint of a teenager, you can’t expect these guys to be anything other than a pack of wild animals.

    And guess what happens when controversy comes along, or you fall behind in a big game? The wheels come off and players point fingers or start fights. What a perfect example of poor sportsmanship and character holding back an otherwise impressive group of athletes.

  32. I like this sentence, “Other than telling receiver Titus Young to take a break from OTAs — and then insisting that he hadn’t been suspended even though no one ever reported or claimed that he was — the Lions have done nothing to punish their second-year players…” So other than punishing one player they’ve done nothing. How can a team actually punish a player and still be accused of doing nothing? If anyone watched the video, a graphic made by NBC clearly reads that Titus Young was “suspended” from OTAs. Seems a bit contradictory to the above quote.

    To further the hit piece, the writer mentions that plenty of teams take action for acts detrimental to the team. Since Young’s act was the only one that was actually detrimental to the team, the Lions obviously took action. What examples of punishment have teams like the Redskins, Raiders, Dolphins, Colts, Panthers, Bears, Bengals, 9ers, Broncos, Vikings, done (other than cut bad players) to punish their players who have been arrested since the end of the season? I’ll wait for the follow up story.

  33. Amazing how many posts here are just mindless repeats… reading is fundamental.

    I make no excuses for Fairley’s last issue… but the other player issues mentioned are past… done.

    These guys are going to pull it together and enjoy success, as much as many childishly hope they don’t.

  34. This team doesn’t have the focus to usurp the Packers.

    For those that asked about Walden an Underwood from the Packers, Walden was cleared and Underwood cut. I guess you don’t really k ow what you’re talking about. The Packers are still the class of the NFL, and will be for a few more years at least.

    The only way Detroit beats them is if Suh intentionally hurts Rodgers. Hey, I could see it happening.

  35. And how many Cowboys on the early 1990s teams were arrested or otherwise committing jackassery?

    Should Jerry have cut those players? “Michael, we’re sorry, but even though you’re a Hall of Fame wideout, your love of the smell of cocaine is forcing us to go another direction.”

    We’re talking about MARIJUANA here. A plant. Yes, it’s illegal, yes, it’s not allowed in the NFL. But would you rather have your player smoking some herb, or do you want Donte’ Stallworth, Ray Lewis, or any of the other players who have KILLED people?

  36. So, basically, if the Lions wanted to make a statement, they could. For now, it’s safe to assume that they simply don’t want to.

    And that is precisely why everyone outside of Detroit who started cheering them for seemingly turning things around have now left the cheering section and are looking for a new underdog to pull for.

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