De Smith: Players deserve due process, just like Irsay


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.

35 responses to “De Smith: Players deserve due process, just like Irsay

  1. when he gets his due process and has a verdict then his status may change but until then he is subject to the terms of his employment….some are suspended without pay, some are suspended with pay. Teachers having sex with students are suspended with out pay , cops after a shooting are suspended with or without pay….Ray Rice was suspended and then terminated based on the new video evidence……..he did the crime……now its time to pay for it instead of being paid for it.
    One picture is worth a thousand words and there is no way to defend his actions……ever.

  2. He’s saying what he has to as an advocate for the players. Bottom line is though, due process can take forever and players may be out of the league or hurt, etc when it finally takes place. Owners? They aint goin anywhere. Plus they PAY Rog, the players don’t.

    Its just not realistic

  3. Who’s advising this guy? This about the worst day possible in the history of the NFL to get into any sort of talk about “due process” or get in any sort of back and forth with the league regarding player suspensions.

    I know what he said has nothing to do with the Rice situation, but why muddy the waters and have his words be potentially at all associated with player suspensions today of all days?

  4. Boy, there are times when players, celebrities, normal civilians, hide behind due process — but De Smith is right about this.

    Players should not be punished for mere accusations. Anyone can point a finger — but the idea is to determine if someone on the other end of that pointed finger is or isn’t blameworthy.

  5. I totally get his comments weren’t about Rice and the due process. But why wasn’t he speaking on the only issue that means anything to NFL fans?

  6. Doesn’t Smith realize that if this new policy concerning DUI was in effect earlier Irsay would have been suspended immediately instead of waiting for the courts just like with the players get. There is no “unfairness” going on. If anything owners and management get stiffer punishments from the league office for these type of infractions than the players get.

  7. No one is advocating for violence. True, Mrs. Rice was not afforded due process herself, nevertheless, due process for all players in all circumstances is required.

    In this case, this never went through a coherent organized process. The camera caught the event, only partial information was processed, all efforts were made to shield the man because of his status, a victimized woman was silenced, law enforcement bent like Gumby, the league did not do their due diligence, the complexities and many layers of domestic violence were never truly reviewed, the owners and the unions went radio silent the whole time, the commissioner was ill prepared and lost in all this, they followed social media to see which way the wind is blowing, a family is in tatters, a woman’s life and a man’s life will forever change. Where is the due process in all this?

    Kick him out but give him his due process and there was none here. None.

  8. What he means is they have to let the legal system work like when you get pulled over for a DWI and just like all these guys YOU LAWYER UP and suddenly they are not charged anymore. That is why you can’t do anything right away because all of these guys haven’t lawyered up and go out of the charge.

  9. The NJ prosecutor in the Rice case is the same one who wants to lock up a mother who accidentally crossed state lines with a legally registered (in another state) firearm…and made no attempt to deceive the officer. She may do time, while he gives Rice a hug and a slap.

    Irsay walked with far less than any of us would get.

    As much as I have no use for DeSmith, it’s hard to argue his point. So does the NFL attempt to make up for a broken justice system?

  10. Accusations and rumors alone causing suspensions can easily be abused; especially by someone with a vendetta against a player or team. Innocence before proven guilt is the logical way to handle them.

  11. I don’t have a problem with this if the player refuses to take a breathalyzer test or blows over the legal limit.

    If they take the breathalyzer and are under the legal limit but are still arrested then the 1 game sit down should not be imposed.

  12. People are living in the distant past regarding this “due process” thing. That may have been the case back in the 18th century or something, but now, if you are arrested and charged, then you should automatically be banned from the league for life. Zero tolerance should mean zero tolerance.

  13. If Goodell gets his way, someone is going to accuse the opposing team’s QB of a crime right before the Superbowl. If my team gets to the Superbowl, that someone might be me.

  14. Irsay moved his case up from October/November to “done”. He also accepted the penalty handed out by the league without bothering to waste time appealing it (see Josh Gordon).

    Ray McDonald has already put off his case from the 8th to the 15th. He will probably have his court case put off until the end of the season or after it.

    Tell De Smith when his players follow Irsay’s example, he might have a point.

  15. Who are the boobs who are in support of Smith here…he’s an absolute idiot who screwed the Players with their last agreement with the League….DOH!

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