Smith, Gordon, Irsay remain on deck for discipline


The NFL has developed a habit, wisely from a P.R. standpoint, of dropping bad news on Friday afternoons.  The move necessarily takes the steam out of a story, since by Monday the weekday radio and TV shows will be focused on the actual sporting events of the intervening weekend.

And while the Internet remains available for content and comment at any day and time, folks tend to spend more time reading and reacting during the normal workweek, when they’re on the company’s time.  By the time they’re on their own time, they’re making time for other stuff.

Coupled with the NFL’s habit of resolving disciplinary matters that could result in suspension before the start of the regular season, the next three Fridays likely will feature final decisions regarding 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith, Browns receiver Josh Gordon, and Colts owner Jim Irsay.

Smith faces a multi-game suspension under the personal-conduct policy and/or the substance abuse policy.  Because the latter would entail a more complex and time-consuming appeals process, look for the league to impose discipline under the personal-conduct policy.  Smith, who met with Commissioner Roger Goodell two weeks ago in Baltimore, awaits an initial decision.  If/when a suspension is imposed under the conduct policy, Smith will have three days to file an appeal, which almost certainly would be resolved before the 49ers face the Cowboys in Week One.

For Gordon, the two-day appeal hearing under the substance-abuse policy ended 17 days ago.  Barring a negotiated resolution, hearing officer Harold Henderson will impose a ruling, presumably sooner than later.  Under the strict terms of the substance-abuse policy, the options are no suspension at all and a full year.

As to Irsay, the league presumably has been waiting for a potential plea deal on the pending charges of operating a vehicle while under the influence of prescription medication.  League insiders reportedly expect Irsay to receive a six-to-eight-game suspension.  The biggest unanswered question regarding Irsay remains whether he will be subjected to the same player standard of 10-times-per-month urinalysis and, eventually, a potential one-year banishment from the sport.

While plenty of unknowns linger as to all three men, past precedent suggests that each will have a decision rendered before Sunday, September 7 — and that the news will likely emerge on one of the next three Fridays.

18 responses to “Smith, Gordon, Irsay remain on deck for discipline

  1. What is a 6-8 game suspension going to do to Irsay? It’s a pointless charade unless they are going to take away his draft picks and/or cap space. Or take away their ability to use any tags for 2 years.

  2. The idea of subjecting an owner to the same penalty structure as players seems pointless. What does “an 8-10 game suspension” mean when many owners don’t attend games?

  3. Just a guess, but I think Irsay has much less of a chance for punishment then those other two guys. No reason … just my guy feeling.

  4. Suspending the player directly affects the player. As a side-effect, the rest of the team has to deal with that player being absent, but has a chance to overcome the lack.

    Suspending the owner directly affects the owner, but the effects aren’t all that big of a deal. Taking away picks/cap space/tags directly affects the team unfairly. There is no real, viable punishment which can be enacted on an owner (which makes sense, because they’re an owner).

    Regardless, Smith & Gordon’s processes have already been completed. Smith has pled and been sentenced. Gordon has failed his test and made his appeal. If anything, these two should already have been given their suspensions.

    Irsay’s case hasn’t even gone to court yet. All the self-righteous people who like to see their players continue playing with the excuse “He hasn’t been convicted yet” are looking like hypocrites when they clamor for anything to be done to Irsay at this point.

  5. Irsay should get a high, high 6 figure fine if not 7 figures. His whole act is an embarrassment as well as a terrible example to the players.

  6. What about Greg Hardy? I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been legal conclusion to his case, which the league would likely want to continue waiting for before punishing him. He is still very much on deck for discipline from the league as well.

  7. Goodell want to be the dictatorial word on all of the suspensions yet now we are seeing him become gun shy due to the increased scrutiny coming from all angles. You want to be the man Roger, well then step up and take to criticism you so earnestly deserve.

  8. Why is Josh Gordon even on the practice field?

    All he is doing is taking snaps away from other players who desperately need them. (You’ve seen the Browns “other” receivers right?)

    Gordon is a 5X loser that should have been suspended for a year 8 months ago.

  9. “Jim Irsay did something wrong ? I wasn’t aware of that. I don’t know of anything he should be disciplined for”

    – Roger Goodell

  10. Why has it taken 17+ days for a decision on Josh Gordon? Do you think that they know that under Ohio law if one sample is positive and one negative than it’s considered a negative test? Something fishy is going on there.

  11. I suspect the delay on Gordon is backlash for his waiting to the last moment to appeal. He was within his rights to do so; they are within their rights to delay now.

    Hardy has been convicted, but appealed his case, so it isn’t concluded yet. His case brings up a different issue. If the League institutes a new penalty schedule for Domestic Violence between now and his appeal, do the new rules apply or does he get to play “ex post facto”? Something to consider.

  12. The NFL has been trying to market itself to female fans. Well, the latter are about to find out what the league thinks of them, if brutally beating a woman unconscious gets you a smaller suspension than Smith’s or Gordon’s transgressions.

  13. Suspend Smith for 5 games, but give him credit for time served, meaning Smith would forfeit the pay for the 5 games he missed while getting himself into rehab last year, but he won’t miss any games this year.

  14. Though the player and owner commit the same offense, only the player is subject to the rules, as the moment he signs his contract. There is a player conduct clause. The owner signs no contract and has no clause, unless there is something about it when you own a team..Than has never been mentioned.

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