NFL declines comment on Xavien Howard situation

Los Angeles Chargers v Miami Dolphins
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Based on reports surfacing yesterday regarding a June 2020 shooting at the home of NFL agent Damarius Bilbo, there’s definitely some smoke when it comes to the potential involvement of Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard. If the NFL has joined the authorities in the search for fire, the NFL isn’t saying so.

“We will decline comment,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a Sunday morning email to PFT regarding the situation.

Under the Personal Conduct Policy, the league has broad authority to investigate and to discipline players who have committed one or more types of off-field misbehavior. Obviously, potential involvement in a shooting falls within the conduct prohibited by the policy.

As the Miami Herald reported on Saturday night, Howard has declined to be interviewed by Georgia police investigating the incident. Unless and until he goes to Georgia (the Dolphins host the Falcons this year), the authorities there will have a hard time forcing an interview. Even if they manage to get Howard in a room, he can always invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

In contrast, the NFL has the power to compel Howard to appear and to talk, with discipline being the leverage to compel compliance. Consider this portion of the Personal Conduct Policy: “Because the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination does not apply in a workplace investigation, the league will reserve the right to compel a player to cooperate in its investigations even when he is the target of a pending law enforcement investigation or proceeding. A player’s refusal to speak to a league investigator under such circumstances will not preclude an investigation from proceeding or discipline from being imposed.”

Although the league isn’t commenting, this one seems like a no-brainer. The league should send an investigator to Florida, or require Howard to come to New York, for an interview. The league also should require Howard to direct his lawyers to produce any reports or other records received from Georgia police regarding the investigation, so that the league will have a more complete picture before talking to Howard.

There’s another interesting angle to this regarding notification to the league office. When, if ever, did Howard report the investigation to the Dolphins? When, if ever, did the Dolphins share that information with the league? Again, from the policy: “Clubs and players are obligated to promptly report any matter that comes to their attention (through, for example, victim or witness reports, law enforcement, civil litigation, or media reports) that may constitute a violation of this Policy. Clubs are expected to educate their employees on this obligation to report. . . . Failure to report an incident will be grounds for disciplinary action. This obligation to report is broader than simply reporting an arrest; it requires reporting to the league any incident that comes to the club’s or player’s attention which, if the allegations were true, would constitute a violation of the Policy.”

Wherever it goes from here, the incident report as enhanced by Saturday night’s reporting from the Herald makes it clear that the authorities in Georgia believe there’s a reason to talk to Howard about this unsolved shooting at the house of an NFL agent. There’s no reason for the NFL to look the other way, and every reason for the NFL to use its employment leverage over Howard to get him to talk.

30 responses to “NFL declines comment on Xavien Howard situation

  1. roughingthepasser says:
    February 21, 2021 at 11:16 am
    This might impact his seeking to redo his contract.
    ——————————————————
    He’s not seeking to re-do it. Miami wants to extend him

  2. This guy has had a couple of problems now, when will the 3rd strike happen? He wants more money after fleecing the Dolphins 2 years ago.

  3. The league has disciplined players erratically for far too long. I wouldn’t even begin to try and guess what punishment if any the league might try and impose in this situation. I’m not making light of this, but he hasn’t been charged, and there’s little if any proof that’s known publicly that says he was involved, so how do you even begin to punish someone based off of a bunch of maybe he was, and possibly he was? I don’t know how that flies in any workplace. Hey Jim you’re fired, because Bruce heard you might have been involved in X,Y or Z… That just doesn’t seem right

  4. He’s not seeking to re-do it. Miami wants to extend him

    ——————————————————

    No he’s on record wanting a new contract and saying he’s outperformed the $75mil one he just signed.

  5. Miami needs to trade him now and get his salary off the books.
    He had a great season but will never back that up with another one. This will be a distraction that the team doesn’t need right now.
    Has ANYONE ever read an article or heard him say he wants to be a Dolphin ? He has always seemed like a me first player. That is a cancer IMO and will come to the surface and be a problem one day.
    Not to mention he already wants a new contract right after he just signed one. How about when you do not play up to that huge contract? Can they then have you re sign for a lower one??

  6. The NFL should let the criminal justice system do its job and stop enforcing an unfair system on its players and stop being the morality police. It is not the NFLs job to punish players for criminal acts they have not been found guilty of.

  7. Howard has missed a lot of games. Despite this, the Dolphins signed him to a record contract, recognising his ability as a ballhawk when fit. This year, he didn’t give up as many big plays as previous years. But he has 4 years left on his contract- a really bad precedent to renegotiate this early. Maybe if he had another all-pro year but even then it’s too early imho. If he wants to retire and pay back any signing bonus due then good luck to him for holding firm on his principles. This news story has just killed off his trade value.

  8. Starting to wonder if their is a case here. The case I’m talking about is one of defamation of character. I’ve heard plenty about a picture being painted against Howard but I haven’t heard any details of anyone saying exactly what he did and who saw him do it.

  9. All Howard has to do is deny it. Talk to the detectives even if they have to fly to him. The silence is deafening.

  10. The NFL doesn’t want to be accused of hindering an investigation smart move for once by Roger.

  11. After this upcoming season he’ll be almost 30, and the Fins can move on for only 2.8m dead vs 39.3m worth of contract. Throwing more money at him would be a dicey proposition, even without his potential involvement in this incident. And 1st round CB Noah Igbinoghene was the youngest player in the league. Ideally he’ll come into his own and make losing Xavien hurt less.

  12. Howard is under contract for the next four years. However, if they were to cut him this year they would have almost as much cap savings as the cap hit. If this investigation takes legs that might not be outside the realm of possibility.

    I would suspect since this investigation deals with attempted murder the NFL may put him on the commissioner’s list until the issue has been resolved.

  13. What are the odds the NFL doesn’t have the slightest clue what to do about this situation?
    At this point he’s only wanted for questioning by authorities.
    I suppose the league can just suspend him for 10 games and say they’ve handled it.

  14. Zeke was never charged with anything because there was ZERO evidence that he had committed a crime and he still got suspended for dang near half the season… So… You never know what Roger may or may not do.

  15. As a Bills fan I really hope this guy wasn’t involved and has a clean conscience. SO much fun watching whichever Bills receiver he tried to cover smoke him all over the field two games a year. Keep paying him Miami!

  16. I don’t know if Xavien Howard was involved at all in this situation and I hope he wasn’t. If he was, this might be one of the dumbest ways to throw away your career – “Sure, I was an NFL starter with a $75 million contract, but I couldn’t resist shooting at my former agent’s house.”

  17. Seems he knows something otherwise he’d talk to police. People that refuse to talk to police have something to hide . Either he’s involved or know who was and is covering for them . Tough blow for Miami don’t see how he can avoid a suspension . Only question is how long

  18. smokingafatone says:
    February 21, 2021 at 5:33 pm
    Seems he knows something otherwise he’d talk to police. People that refuse to talk to police have something to hide . Either he’s involved or know who was and is covering for them . Tough blow for Miami don’t see how he can avoid a suspension . Only question is how long

    3 1 Rate This

    —————

    Goodell will do absolutely nothing because the player is good, albeit overrated, expensive and can help to try to hurt the Pats overall record.

    Mark my words. Nothing will happen. AFc East and AFC playoff contenders are untouchable.

  19. touchback6 says:
    February 21, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    Goodell will do absolutely nothing because the player is good, albeit overrated

    please explain

  20. touchback6 says:
    February 21, 2021 at 5:47 pm
    smokingafatone says:
    February 21, 2021 at 5:33 pm
    Seems he knows something otherwise he’d talk to police. People that refuse to talk to police have something to hide . Either he’s involved or know who was and is covering for them . Tough blow for Miami don’t see how he can avoid a suspension . Only question is how long

    3 1 Rate This

    —————

    Goodell will do absolutely nothing because the player is good, albeit overrated, expensive and can help to try to hurt the Pats overall record.

    Mark my words. Nothing will happen. AFc East and AFC playoff contenders are untouchable.

    —————

    Yeah cuz they’re so dominant. Gimme a break. That’s getting old. What did Goodell do about Patrick Chung?

  21. Imagine Harry trying to get open against him? Lol. Actually I’m pretty sure I can cover Harry at 49.

  22. When I first heard about a story involving Aaron Hernandez, I really didn’t pay that much attention to it. I thought no friggin way would a pro football player be so foolish. Certainly he would be cleared of any participation. Why on earth would a guy throw everything away? I’m not jumping to any conclusions with this case involving Howard, but I’ve braced myself for the worst.

  23. jcampol says:
    February 21, 2021 at 6:10 pm
    touchback6 says:
    February 21, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    Goodell will do absolutely nothing because the player is good, albeit overrated

    please explain

    3 0 Rate This

    —————-

    Watch the “4 Days in Fall” doc on Amazon. I’ve had it all along. It’s why Goodelll was hired. Tagliabue wasn’t willing to commit consumer fraud like Goodell does.

  24. ouchback6 says:
    February 21, 2021 at 7:50 pm
    jcampol says:
    February 21, 2021 at 6:10 pm
    touchback6 says:
    February 21, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    Goodell will do absolutely nothing because the player is good, albeit overrated

    please explain

    3 0 Rate This

    —————-

    Watch the “4 Days in Fall” doc on Amazon. I’ve had it all along. It’s why Goodelll was hired. Tagliabue wasn’t willing to commit consumer fraud like Goodell does.

    was referring to you calling xavian howard overrated

  25. The NFL should not allow players to avoid legitimate requests from law enforcement. Players may have the right to avoid them from a legal perspective, but the league and teams don’t legally have to allow players to do so and continue to play. The league should suspend Howard without pay indefinitely he meets with law enforcement as they’ve requested.

  26. I don’t like it when the NFL tries to step in on legal matters that are still pending. If the Georgia police have asked the NFL for help, then fine. But it’s a gray area that the NFL shouldn’t get involved in.

    Yes, there are uncomfortable situations when players are accused of crimes – but if they want to handle these things on their own then they should create some clear policies about what they will do with a player that has charges pending.

    And uncharged player who the police want to question about an incident? It’s getting into territory that’s too gray for my liking.

  27. A fellow human beings home was shot into while his family was there. Why wouldn’t you do anything you can to help bring the criminal to justice.

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