One of the bigger topics of discussion during yet another drama filled NFL offseason has been the amount of power wielded by Commissioner Roger Goodell. No matter how much the players might bitch and moan they’ve got no one to blame but the man in the mirror.
After all it was the players who approved a new collective bargaining agreement that has put the GOD in Goodell. In his newfound role of judge, jury and executioner Goodell jumped all over Bountygate punishing the New Orleans Saints without any concern for silly details like facts and accuracy.
Of course even before Goodell was appointed Lord of Professional Football he already made it clear that the code of conduct was not to be violated and those who do will face his wrath. From Pacman Jones making it rain on his own parade in Vegas to Ben Roethlisberger blowing up $1-beer night in Georgia, Goodell acted swiftly without waiting for any court ruling to force his hand.
So naturally you’ve got to wonder what the future holds for Darrius Heyward-Bey and Rolando McClain.
For McClain a suspension seems all but imminent. He’s already been convicted once and if his re-trial goes the same way then the third strike will surely come for the office of the commissioner. McClain was fortunate to avoid suspension after his initial arrest but rest assured Goodell won’t allow for anyone facing jail time to play and collect pay.
Now as for DHB and the DUI he caught the story could be much different.
Currently Heyward-Bey is due back in court on July 23rd. Of course his case could be erased as DHB’s lawyer, Ivan Golde, is taking the Ryan Braun defense. Golde is already playing the technicality card in hopes of getting the case thrown out due to some “procedural issues” in the nature of how Heyward-Bey’s arrest was handled.
That might work fine and well in a court where arguments are heard by individuals sworn to the letter of the law. But in the court of Goodell, where rules are made up on the fly and change more often than Mr. Rodgers, the Braun defense means nothing.
Golde cites the fact that DHB’s blood-alcohol level came out at two different levels in varying tests. Never mind that both results were over the legal limit. In the kangaroo court of the NFL that’s more than enough to justify suspension.
So the question is can DHB avoid suspension even if he ducks a conviction?
The simple answer is we’ll have to wait and see. Goodell has shown patience in allowing the McClain case to play itself out even though there is plenty of reason to believe his time is coming. As for DHB there’s just no telling what Goodell will do.
Either way the reality is the Raiders could be without two key players at some point in time. Even if they avoid the long arm of the law they won’t be out of Goodell’s reach. And as part of the union that allowed Goodell to do as he feels they’ve got no one to blame but themselves.