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Where to Draw the Line with Problem Players

As I think about Pacman jones being suspended for a year, I keep coming back to what is the solution for problem players. There is a lot of this talk flying around the blogosphere and nobody seems to have settled on any particular solution. 3 strikes and you're out? 1 felony is a year suspension? 3 arrests is a suspension? Equating number of arrests or the severity of the crime to the number of games suspended seems ripe for trouble. One guy will get 2 games for a DUI and another will get 3 for statutory rape. Complaints and lawsuits would ensue and we would be right back here trying to figure out a solution.

My personal solution for disciplining NFL players , besides on the book rules that exist for drug violations etc., would be to look at each case individually. Treat problem players just like Roger Gooddell did with Chris Henry and Pacman Jones. Treat them each as a unique case and dish out appropriate punishment.  I believe that few people disagree with the punishments handed out- 8 game suspension for Henry and the whole season for Pacman. Because of the media scrutiny and the NFL Player's Association, I'm pretty sure we can guard against any really ridiculous punishment.

But there still exists this "problem" of rowdy NFL players. Cincy Jungle put it well:

I don't fully blame the players for their actions. Sure, some players irresponsible and unappreciative. But I'm not supporting nor defending their actions. And yes, you can have it both ways -- as long as you understand the root of the problem. And no, I'm not talking about installing a social service for troubled youth -- the government takes enough of your money to run those services.

As long as players are allowed to do what they want with their "get out of jail" celebrity card, nothing will change. Implement a tougher discipline system, and you'll likely change perspectives -- but not actions. In an emotional moment, people don't think of their consequences because rational thought is overrun with whatever emotion that consumes someone. You can say, "we're going to be tougher" all you want. But if you want to clean up the league, then do it preemptively at the root rather than in reaction to a public relations disaster -- which just appears to be "for show".

The root of the problem does seem to be the character of the players coming in. I have to agree with Cincy Jungle here. Whether or not NFL teams put character at a higher priority than talent when scouting is up to the individual team. There will be some that will take higher class players. And there are some that won't.    

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