With the NFL labor battle at day 94, the lockout by the owners has pushed 1,600-plus players away from their natural habitat of team building and has allowed them more free time away from the normalcy of offseason workouts, mini-camps and both team and positional meetings. There has been no daily interaction between players and coaches (and let’s don’t forget the hours upon hours spent in the weight room in overall body development with strength coaches and the rehabbing of offseason surgeries with the training staff).
Commissioner Roger Goodell and his staff will be extremely busy after the lockout is lifted, or will they? Off-field issues under the expired CBA spelled out the penalties and disciplinary action that were to be handed out upon failed drug tests, arrests (DUI, domestic violence, motor vehicle issues) and on-field incidents.
With no current CBA in place, the arrests and off-field issues are mounting weekly. The NFL and its owners find themselves in uncharted territory. The question is what will take place once the new CBA is agreed upon and how much if any discipline will be handed out for those crimes, arrests and major issues that happened during the lockout period.
On March 21, the NFL made a statement saying it intended to enforce the Personal Conduct Policy after the lockout was lifted, but I’m sure the NFLPA (or trade association) will have something to say about that, seeing how there was not a CBA in place to govern such rules.
According to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, “While players won’t be able to get the benefit of our evaluation and counseling program during the work stoppage, the personal conduct of players and employees is an integrity-of-the-game issue. Any misconduct that is detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL will certainly be addressed when play resumes.”
Let’s take a look at the timeline of incidents since the March 11 decertification of the NFLPA, which led to the current lockout. We’ll start with the most recent incident and work our way back to when the lockout was declared:
June 9 – Colts running back Javarris James was arrested for marijuana possession of up to 20 grams.
June 8 – Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt was arrested on two counts of resisting arrest.
May 22 – Bears running back Garrett Wolfe was arrested on charges of retail theft, disorderly conduct, assaulting a police officer, and resisting arrest with violence.
May 10 – Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth enters not guilty plea to sexual abuse charges.
May 10 – Buccaneers defensive end Alex Magee is the latest of a string of Buccaneers’ players to be arrested.
May 6 – Chargers linebacker Antwan Applewhite was arrested for suspicion of DUI.
April 27 – Denver Broncos defensive end Jason Hunter was stabbed in an altercation.
April 26 – Baltimore Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski tested positive for a form of THC after moonlighting at his temporary job of boxing.
April 26 – Haynesworth wase charged with misdemeanor sexual abuse.
April 23 – Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall spent several days in intensive care at a local Miami hospital after being stabbed in the stomach by his wife.
April 20 – Jay Kaiser, assistant coach for Tampa Bay, was arrested for DUI.
April 19 – Falcons safety William Moore was arrested for speeding, driving with a suspended license, and failure to appear.
April 12 – Titans WR Kenny Britt was arrested for eluding police and obstruction.
April 4 – Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel, who is currently knee-deep in the NFL labor battle representing the players, was arrested for theft, a Class D felony.
April 3 – Raiders wide receiver Louis Murphy was arrested for possession of prescription drugs without a valid prescription, also charged with failure to obey a police officer and resisting arrest without violence.
March 30 – Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, firing a handgun in city limits.
March 25 – Eagles tackle Jason Peters was arrested for loud music and disturbing the peace in Shreveport.
March 25 – Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly was arrested for possession of codeine, a prescription drug.
March 23 – Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was issued a criminal trespass warning by representatives of NorthPark Center Mall because of profanity after he and his companions were requested to pull their pants up by Dallas police officers working off-duty (they were said to have exposed their underwear and buttocks to patrons in the mall).
March 19 – Cowboys cornerback Bryan McCann was arrested for public intoxication.
March 17 – Raiders tackle Mario Henderson was arrested for carrying a concealed firearm.
March 13 – Vikings cornerback Chris Cook busted for brandishing a handgun.
While the league plans on talking with players and handing out suspensions on a case-by-case basis, the NFLPA will have an interesting stand to take. This very subject might be one of the minor issues on the table as the two sides discuss major issues like revenue, the 18-game schedule and third-party independent drug testing (among other important items).