Tonight’s matchup between the Titans and Broncos on ESPN provides not only a look at teams with holes in places that need fixing quick, but also two teams either directly affected by the new policy of commissioner Roger Goodell or about to be affected by it.
Prized free-agent RB Travis Henry is facing a one-year suspension for another positive drug test for marijuana, and the Titans have already moved on, at least attitude-wise, from the year-long suspension of Adam “Pacman” Jones, talented cornerback and punt returner for various off-field arrests and a particular incident involving his entourage in Las Vegas during NBA All-Star Weekend. All this is chronicled by the Denver Post, in a look at Goodell’s reign so far as the standard-bearer for the league and supposed protector of its image.
Henry met with NFL officials Friday to dispute his urine sample that tested positive for marijuana earlier this year. If Henry loses his appeal, he could receive a one-year suspension. There’s a chance his penalty could be reduced, as was the case with Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen, who had his four-game suspension for repeated DUIs reduced to two games.
But for Goodell to show mercy upon Henry, his image problem must be separated. Prior to Henry’s allegedly failed drug test, it was revealed he has fathered nine children with nine women.
Goodell is expected to rule on Henry’s case Tuesday. No doubt, the NFL will say it passed judgment strictly on the merits of 21 nanograms of THC found in Henry’s urine sample. But if somehow the numbers nine and nine seep into Goodell’s subconscious, Henry is going to have a tough time winning the argument.
If Goodell does think like this with regard to Henry, that’s particularly disturbing. No matter how distasteful one may find Henry’s sexual behavior and attitude towards fathering children, that isn’t even part of the discussion here. The problem Goodell has made for himself is by setting the bar quite high with Jones, Chris Henry, and Tank Johnson, and then going easy on Jared Allen, who is tearing it up on the defensive end after getting leniency for two DUIs, which is much, much more dangerous than smoking pot, at least in my eyes.
What is amusing is the teeth-clenched response from Broncos’ defensive back Domonique Foxworth regarding Goodell’s actions, essentially passing the buck for the inability to consider the rights of some of the players onto the NFLPA, which should be looking to keep the league in check, but really hasn’t done a thing with the new policy in check.