Goodell's new mandate is sad, but necessary

It seems as if at least once a month, regardless if it's during the season or offseason, we're bombarded with news of alleged criminal activities involving NFL players.

From traffic infractions to boating incidents, today's sports pages reveal more arrest records than scoring records with enough legal lingo to fill a Harvard Law Review seminar.

In an attempt to nip these issues in the bud, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has implemented a new policy, which will be effective beginning in June, to penalize teams for a player's misbehavior outside of the locker room.

This new law has come under scrutiny because of the sensitivity and legal ramifications involving these players, who by law, are innocent until proven guilty.

However, while they await a judge's ruling to determine their innocence or guilt in the court of law, in the courtroom of the NFL, Goodell sits as judge, jury and executioner ready pass down his expensive sentence for team owners whose players can't seem to avoid trouble.

Unfortunately, this is the scenario facing players, who are supposed to be responsible grown men, but have to be treated like children because of their foolish and ill-advised off-the-field activities.

This is no different than in the real world when a teen-ager gets in trouble and the judge imposes a fine on the parents for neglect. It's sad when the law has to step in to raise someone's children and it's just as bad in this case too. Especially when its millionaire players being paid by billionaire owners, who turn a blind eye to their activities.

In the 24/7 world of Internet blogging, cable news and celebrity lifestyle publications, team owners and scouts have files on players as high as the Empire State Building.

They know his entire history from the name of his prom date to his tendency to bite on a pump fake, yet, if the price is right, and there's a void to be filled, said athlete is signed to a contract at all costs in the name of producing a championship.

While no team a free from the courtroom drama, this seems to be the result of all the bad air blowing out of the Cincinnati Bengals' facility.

From Chris Henry to former UGA stud Odell Thurman, the Bengals have become the laughing stock of sports and an amateur comedy night punchline for their habitual appearance in the news for their reckless activities.

Will this curtail grown men from going to strip clubs, when they know there is a propensity for trouble?


Will this force scouts and owners to triple check their sources when conducting background investigations in order to avoid future fines?


There are several loopholes to every rule and I'm sure the teams, despite having all their ducks in a row, can find a way to claim ignorance to a player's history after being arrested for any wrong doing to lighten or eliminate an imposed penalty.

If the league really wants its voice to be heard, levy heavy fines for the player and take away draft picks from teams.

Nothing says scared straight like a dent in the pockets of the players and owners, who hold tight to their money like a squirrel stores its food in the winter.

Here comes da judge!

Rory Sharrock is a sports writer for the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. His column runs every Thursdays. He can be reached at rsharrock@news-daily.com