Roger Goodell cracked down Tuesday on the player misconduct that’s plagued his first seven months as NFL commissioner, suspending Tennessee’s Adam “Pacman” Jones for the 2007 season and Cincinnati’s Chris Henry for eight games.
“It is a privilege to represent the NFL, not a right,” Goodell said in a statement announcing the suspensions. “These players and all members of our league have to make the right choices and decisions in their conduct on a consistent basis.”
Jones’ off-field conduct has included 10 incidents where he was interviewed by police. The most recent took place during the NBA All-Star weekend in Las Vegas. Police there recommended felony and misdemeanor charges against Jones after a fight and shooting at a strip club paralyzed one man.
Henry was arrested four times in a 14-month span, resulting in two benchings by coach Marvin Lewis and a two-game league suspension. He was one of nine Bengals arrested in nine months.
Goodell handed down the suspensions under the NFL’s existing conduct policy and also announced a new broader policy that will allow longer fines and suspensions for players and potential penalties against teams.
Goodell and Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFL Players Association, met with a group of players in February and again last week and agreed the league needed a stronger disciplinary policy.
“It is important that the NFL be represented consistently by outstanding people as well as great football players, coaches and staff,” Goodell said in announcing the new policy, which has the strong support of Upshaw and the union.
Jones, the sixth overall pick in the 2005 draft, starred on the field but had nothing but trouble off it during two seasons with the Titans. He had four touchdowns last season, three on punt returns and one from one of four interceptions.
He could be reinstated before season’s end if he adheres to conditions set by the NFL that include no further involvement with law enforcement; counseling, education and treatment under league and court-ordered programs; follows restrictions on his activities agreed to with the Titans; and a community-service program submitted to the league for review and approval.