NFLPA pretends to support Pacman's suspension appeal

There is nothing going on for the Redskins so I will uncharacteristically veer into unfamiliar territory and do my best to relate it back tangengtially to our beloved 'Skins.

Our Titans blogger, Music City Miracles, recently commented on a letter issued by the NFLPA in support of Pacman Jones' suspension appeal. I did not predict this turn of events figuring that the NFLPA wanted nothing to do with the public relations disaster that is Mr. Pacman, and would steer clear. They've done so in spirit but not in word, it seems.

Why now? I suspect it has something to do with the passing of time combined with a recent series of events involving gladiatorial dogs that have drawn the attention of Johnny Q. Public. And time has passed: Pacman filed an appeal in April and the NFLPA's letter was dated March 23rd. As a comparison, Jerry Porter was suspended by the Oakland Raiders for four games on Saturday, October 14th last year. The NFLPA had appealed the decision by Monday the 16th. In another example, the NFLPA issued a statement the week of Albert Haynesworth's five game suspension refusing to appeal.

So I'm having a hard time presuming good faith on the NFLPA as I find their tardiness in this matter suspicious. Were that not enough, Mike Vick's dog-fighting provides sufficient cover to make this the perfect opportunity to satisfy both the NFLPA's desire to at least appear as a good representative body for the players without the massive, attendant bad press they'd get for supporting him.

All of which suggests that the NFLPA doesn't really have their heart in this matter, a position I gathered from their public statements anyways. For example:

"I just think it is normal practice for us to officially send a letter of appeal on behalf of the player who makes that request,'' said NFLPA spokesman Carl Francis. "We have been in support of him ... and our role in this and kind of like our role in every player's situation who requests our involvement.''
Would it kill the NFLPA to at least proclaim faux moral outrage on behalf of Pacman, since they represent him? Does "normal procedure" sound like a stirring and forceful defense of your appeal? Because to me that just sounds like the NFLPA going through the motions. More evidence of this is in their deferment to Pacman's legal counsel:
"For all of the foregoing reasons, the NFLPA hereby requests that you reconsider the one-year suspension you imposed... as it is excessive and inconsistent with the treatment of other similarly situated players,'' according to the letter. "We will defer to Jones' counsel for appropriate discipline, if any, to be suggested.''
It would not take that much time nor could it possibly hurt Pacman's case if the NFLPA would expend enough effort to present an alternative punishment to the Commissioner. I would think Roger Goodell (who, by the way, is both the man responsible for adjudicating suspensions as well as appeals -- this is like asking the same jury that sentenced you to rethink their decision) would take more seriously Jones' legal counsel's "appropriate discipline" than that of the NFLPA. At a minimum, as I said above, it certainly wouldn't hurt Pacman if all parties involved provided alternatives to the current suspension.

Regarding the NFLPA's argument (which I already presume they don't even care much for), I do not find it compelling. Even granting their point, that this suspension is unprecedented, I don't see how that makes it unfair. Pacman's alleged behavior is also unprecedented. Echoing thoughts I believe I heard at PFT, expecting similar treatment from one Commissioner to another is wishful thinking. I do not know why Goodell would be bound strictly to any previous Commissioner's stance on the matter.

Let's briefly relate back to the 'Skins. Anyone calling for disciplinary action against Clinton Portis or Chris Samuels is insane, and I do not expect any such action against either of them. There is nothing illegal about merely being wrong on a contentious issue. Up until that moment CP (or whomever) acts on an illegal impulse, they haven't done anything wrong. I acknowledge that it is possible to damage the integrity of the NFL without committing a criminal act (perhaps through deed or words said) though I think CP is miles away from that point. Again, I do not anticipate any discipline meted out on those who dare simply to express their unpopular views on controversial matters.

Cincy Jungle, Taking a tour in the land of football

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