NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith says NFL players should not be suspended solely because they’ve been arrested.
Smith told reporters at the Seahawks facility today that he opposes NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s proposal to deactivate any player for the first game after an arrest for driving under the influence. Smith noted that Goodell didn’t suspend Colts owner Jim Irsay until after Irsay pleaded guilty to impaired driving, and Smith sees no reason that Goodell shouldn’t wait for the legal process to play out with players as well.
“I do know that one significant sticking point will be any insistence that a player be punished or suspended upon arrest,” Smith said, via PFT’s Curtis Crabtree. “We believe that a player is entitled to due process. We also know the league made a decision not to suspend an owner who was recently arrested and I know the commissioner cited the need to have all the facts and for due process to play out. I agree.”
Smith’s comments come hours after the Ravens cut Ray Rice in response to a video that showed the assault that got Rice suspended for two games, but that was not what Smith was referring to. Smith was referring instead to proposed changes to the league’s drug-testing process, which would include not only penalties for drunk driving arrests but also testing for human growth hormone and changing some of the policies on drug testing for both substance abuse and performance-enhancing substances.