Patrick Chung will face no league punishment, likely for a while

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With Patriots safety Patrick Chung indicted on felony cocaine possession charges, Patriots fans are bracing for (and non-Patriots fans are rooting for) Chung not being available this season. While that would happen if the Patriots choose to release Chung, the league cannot suspend Chung, with or without pay, based on these allegations.

Chung’s alleged misconduct does not fall under the Personal Conduct Policy. The substance-abuse policy covers criminal conduct involving substances of abuse, and the substance-abuse policy contains clear language on what can, and thus can’t, be done to a player who merely faces criminal charges, whether misdemeanor or felony.

First, nothing can be done until the charges are resolved. The league can’t, and won’t, conduct its own investigation and take action independent of the criminal process.

Second, Chung can’t be suspended with pay pending resolution of the charges. It’s simply not available under the substance-abuse policy. The Commissioner-Exempt list applies only to potential Personal Conduct Policy violations involving alleged crimes of violence.

Third, Chung will be subject to NFL discipline only if he ultimately is found responsible for a drug-related offense. This requires a conviction, a guilty plea, a no-contest plea, or entry into a diversion program. If Chung fights the charges and wins exoneration, the league can do nothing.

Unless the wheels of justice move more quickly than they usually do, this case won’t be resolved until at the 2019 season, at the earliest. Thus, the league will do nothing — indeed, the league can do nothing — until the case ends, at the earliest. While this doesn’t prevent the Patriots from making roster decisions in light of the allegations against Chung, it definitely keeps the league from imposing any sort of sanction.

47 responses to “Patrick Chung will face no league punishment, likely for a while

  1. >> The league can’t, and won’t, conduct its own investigation and take action independent of the criminal process.

    But haven’t they done this in the past? If a player is accused of violence towards a woman, isn’t he immediately investigated by the NFL, regardless of what the police are doing?

  2. indiapalealeblog says:
    August 22, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    >> The league can’t, and won’t, conduct its own investigation and take action independent of the criminal process.

    But haven’t they done this in the past? If a player is accused of violence towards a woman, isn’t he immediately investigated by the NFL, regardless of what the police are doing?

    Read deeper……………. No violence indiapalealeblog

    “The Commissioner-Exempt list applies only to potential Personal Conduct Policy violations involving alleged crimes of violence”.

  3. Based on the fact as so far reported. This is a vacation home of Chung’s. Lots of friends andfamily use this home even when Chung himself isn’t there. A burgaler alarm brought the police to his home and they found a small amount of cocaine on the premises. Chung was NEVER arrested. Again based on the known evidence it seems there is nothing to connect Chung with this coke directly except the fact that it was found in his house.

    Unless the DA has information linking Chung directly to the cocaine, I was actually shocked that he bothered to indict him. But in the end, if Chung’s blood work is clean, he’ll get to play until the case reaches its conclusion.

    Is it embarrassing for Chung? I bet it is. Is it distracting to the Pats? I’m sure it will be for a week.

  4. A dumb loophole that has to be closed in the next CBA. Have to put drug possession, selling, etc. under personal conduct policy and keep the other for positive tests.

  5. indiapalealeblog says:
    August 22, 2019 at 4:43 pm
    >> The league can’t, and won’t, conduct its own investigation and take action independent of the criminal process.

    “But haven’t they done this in the past? If a player is accused of violence towards a woman, isn’t he immediately investigated by the NFL, regardless of what the police are doing?”

    Did you stop reading right after you read that sentence????

  6. “First, nothing can be done until the charges are resolved. The league can’t, and won’t, conduct its own investigation and take action independent of the criminal process.”

    Tell that to Ezekiel Elliott.

  7. Big Ben was accused but acquitted of sexual assault. Yet he was suspended by the league even before the trial began. Tom Brady was not convicted of anything, and neither was Ezekiel Elliott. Both were suspended. In contrast, the Beast Mold pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless driving to avoid conviction of drug driving, and he was not suspended. the league has no consistency in disciplining players. There seems to be no guideline, and the courts have ruled that the commish has broad powers under the current CBA to discipline players. Not that I give a hoot whether Chung is disciplined or not, I just want to point out that there simply is no reliable way to predict what the league may or may not do.

  8. So, was Adrian Peterson the only player who was placed on the ‘Commissioner’s exempt list’ sham and effectively suspended pending the results of his case… and the suspended even longer?

    The wheel of NFL a Justice is funny. You just never know who they’ll help by sweeping something under the rug or who they’ll drop the hammer on.

  9. I’m just surprised he got in trouble in the very town he resides in. He’s charged with possession of cocaine and it doesn’t say anything about how much he had, it could have been simply a half gram. Either way it seems pretty stupid to throw away your career on a 40 dollar bag, but nothing surprises me with these guys

  10. felony cocaine charges and nothing will happen. while Incognito is suspended for 2 division games for punching a wall. another guy suspended last year for threats to a woman i think it was 4 games? while a guy this year gets off scot free for doing the same thing,AP suspended a year for whipping his child, a guy this year gets off scot free for doing the same thing.

    this is why roger has no business being in charge he has zero consistency.

  11. …I love it!
    If bills fans can find a DA liken to them….maybe a speedy trial might save you.

  12. If he’s been drug tested recently since June, he can at least prove he didn’t take it. And as he gets tested regularly as a player it’d be hard for the law to prove at this stage it’s even his, given there was a break-in AND it’s a holiday home. They’re gonna need a lot a proof.

  13. dcpatfan says:
    August 22, 2019 at 5:17 pm
    …I love it!
    If bills fans can find a DA liken to them….maybe a speedy trial might save you.
    ————–
    Teams don’t fear the Pats, they fear the refs that call their games.

  14. How did an encounter that ended with no arrest turn into a felony charge 6 weeks later.

    Lawyers are lining up to defend Chung on this one.

  15. AND let’s not forget Robert Kraft gives the NE organization and the NFL a black eye after being caught on video with prostitutes. But the NFL does nothing, as Kraft pays high dollars to attorney’s to get the video evidence dismissed as evidence of a crime. It’s so typical of the NFL to allow NE to get away with everything!

  16. Chung could always go the way of former teammate and Pats starting guard Nick Kaczur (multiple Oxycontin arrests). Who turned rat aka DEA informant to absolve his charges and avoid NFL suspension.

  17. Gosh, once again the Patriots seem to dodge a bullet. It started with the Tuck rule and continues to this day. It’s good to be good, it’s great to be lucky.

  18. People get accused of something and they can get suspended for 6+ games.

    Meanwhile players get CHARGED with a felony and they can’t be suspended?

  19. “With Patriots safety Patrick Chung indicted on felony cocaine possession charges…the league cannot suspend Chung, with or without pay, based on these allegations.”

    With a felony indictment? Yes, they can. Whether they choose to is another matter entirely.

  20. The DA could have a bogus case and might not have much evidence..BUT it’s great to try and catch a big athlete. Look how unprepared the DA was when they went after Kraft. Just say….DA’s don’t seem too smart in FLA.

  21. It’s not uncommon for youths to break into rural homes in the area, especially vacation homes, and use them for partying. The fact that a burglar alarm went off that notifies the police is an interesting facet of this situation. It sounds like Chung wasn’t even on site. If this is the case I am surprised the DA is attempting to prosecute this.

  22. Most all DA’s will “not” take a case to a Grand Jury and to trial, unless they are absolutely sure they can win. Those commenters who are suggesting that there is no strong link that connects the illegal drugs directly to this player, don’t understand the criminal justice system. There has to be an affirmative link, and I strongly suspect that there is. Just finding drugs in a house where a party was going on; that could belong to anyone; is not a case that “any” DA would be interested in prosecuting.

  23. People saying that it might not be his, that it could be someone else’s or friends, whatever the case, that typically doesn’t matter. Kind of like if drugs are found in your car, it’s your car, you are responsible for what’s in it unless someone else confesses that it is theirs. I’m pretty sure this would apply to a house as well. Unless he has a fall guy, he very well could be in deep trouble.

  24. If it was a small market team or less popular team…

    … chung would be suspended.

  25. drummer1279 says:
    August 22, 2019 at 8:45 pm
    People saying that it might not be his, that it could be someone else’s or friends, whatever the case, that typically doesn’t matter. Kind of like if drugs are found in your car, it’s your car, you are responsible for what’s in it unless someone else confesses that it is theirs. I’m pretty sure this would apply to a house as well. Unless he has a fall guy, he very well could be in deep trouble.

    0 0 Rate This

    ——————

    100% false. You need a warrant otherwise it is illegal search and seizure.

    See the 2002 Trailblazers case as an example.

    A car is driven on public roads with taxpayer money. This was an attempted break in or alarm snafu by houseguests. Chung wasn’t even there.

    Please learn the law.

  26. If it was a small market team or less popular team…

    … chung would be suspended.

    ———————
    If it was a small market or less popular team
    …….Hill would be suspended.
    Fixed it for you!

  27. drummer1279 says:
    August 22, 2019 at 8:45 pm
    People saying that it might not be his, that it could be someone else’s or friends, whatever the case, that typically doesn’t matter. Kind of like if drugs are found in your car, it’s your car, you are responsible for what’s in it unless someone else confesses that it is theirs. I’m pretty sure this would apply to a house as well.
    ——————-
    I’m pretty sure, no, I’m certain that you’re wrong.

  28. drummer1279 says:
    August 22, 2019 at 8:45 pm
    People saying that it might not be his, that it could be someone else’s or friends, whatever the case, that typically doesn’t matter. Kind of like if drugs are found in your car, it’s your car, you are responsible for what’s in it unless someone else confesses that it is theirs. I’m pretty sure this would apply to a house as well. Unless he has a fall guy, he very well could be in deep trouble.
    ———————-

    Correct, the will charge the car owner in that case. But getting a conviction on that is a different story. They have to prove its the owner’s. A common way to do that is fingerprints. In most “oh thats not mine” cases they simply fingerprint the bag and that can be a good indicator one way or another. In Chungs case if his fingerprints are on the bag then its going to be hard to say he is not connected to the crime. But likewise, if there are a bunch of fingerprints on the bag and none of them are Chung’s, then its actually a good argument it wasn’t his or even known to him and the cops should identify those other fingerprints. Im not sure they can compel Chung to test for anything in his system but if he is truly clean and knows it then his lawyer may want to have him volunteer for one. (After the lawyer first takes him through a private test just to make sure there are no surprises). So this is long from over. And the Patriots at least right now, do have him pulled off the field while its being sorted out so those that are looking for this really to be more something that affects the team already got their wish. (Except the next man up did a really good job last night)

  29. wvrocks says:
    August 22, 2019 at 7:41 pm
    Most all DA’s will “not” take a case to a Grand Jury and to trial, unless they are absolutely sure they can win. Those commenters who are suggesting that there is no strong link that connects the illegal drugs directly to this player, don’t understand the criminal justice system. There has to be an affirmative link, and I strongly suspect that there is. Just finding drugs in a house where a party was going on; that could belong to anyone; is not a case that “any” DA would be interested in prosecuting.

    ——————-
    Not quite accurate, confusing a trial with a grand jury proceeding. In the grand jury the prosecutor only has to show there is reasonable cause to suspect there is a crime that needs to be investigated to see if it should go to trial. And in this case it looks very much like a crime was committed and they should investigate to see who committed it. And since Chung owns the house it looks like the crime was committed in he is the best target for the indictment, for now at least. That could change during the investigation they will now do. So its all wait and see now. Let these guys work.

  30. I would guess looking at this in the lens of the drug policy is way too narrow and a bit naive. The NFL could and most likely will broaden the scope and suspend Chung under a different policy (most likely the conduct policy).

    It’s just silly at this point to think the NFL can’t do whatever they want in terms of player discipline. There’s zero evidence to suggest that isn’t and won’t be the case. Regardless if you agree with it or not.

  31. Severus13 says: August 23, 2019 at 6:21 am
    Not quite accurate…..
    **************************************************************************
    No, actually I am quite accurate. Have been directly involved in this for three (3) decades (working directly with the DA), and have filed more criminal cases than I care to remember. Where you are wrong, is that the investigation has “already” been completed by the time this is presented to the Grand Jury. The DA decides AFTER their investigator completes his/her review of the police detectives (completed) case, whether that case merits being presented to the Grand Jury. The DA either “accepts” or “rejects” that case from the police detective investigator. If the DA feels that they have the necessary evidence, they present it to the Grand Jury, who determines whether to indict. The Grand Jury often asks questions of the DA during the closed/private hearing. If the case had not already been investigated prior, the DA would probably not be able to answer those questions; which will help the Grand Jury make their decision on whether to indict. An Affirmative Link tying evidence directly to a person (such as drugs in the suspects pockets) is required. Just because the drugs were found in the house of Chung, does not mean that they are definitely his. For example, those drugs could have been brought into the house by a friend of Chung’s, without his knowledge. There was a party going on, remember? The Defense would certainly make that point. All it takes is a shade of doubt, for the DA to lose their case in court. Remember, that our Criminal Justice System works on “Proof beyond a Reasonable Doubt.” That is very high standard of proof. This is why an Affirmative Link is necessary. All of this appears to be a moot point, regardless. Information that I have read on this case from numerous sources, indicates that the drugs were found on Chung’s person, rather than just being found in the house. Back to my original point….a DA is unlikely to present a case to a Grand Jury for indictment, unless he/she is sure that he/she can win it. The exception would be for a case that is highly political; where they will sometimes present it to a Grand Jury, knowing that the case is weak, in order for that Grand Jury to likely “No Bill” the case. This gives the DA political cover, who might otherwise come under fire for not prosecuting a case.

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