Let's face it: The only way you're going to get people's attention is you've got to be strong.
Coach Gibbs is referring to Roger Goodell referring to Tank Johnson in his recent eight game suspension of Tank for a gun conviction. This comes shortly after a year long suspension of Pacman Jones (10 weeks actually, if he played his cards right) and of Chris Henry for eight games of the season for various infractions.
Pacman doesn't have many defenders out there, though here is one complements my blogging colleague Jimmy at Music City Miracles:
Let's break this down. Chris Henry who has multiple convictions and incidents without convictions gets suspended for 8 games. Tank Johnson, who was plead guilty to a handgun charge and later violated his probation, was suspended for what will probably end up being 6 games. This doesn't make any sense.
This battle is raging in a very interesting discussion thread at Football Outsiders which, as usual, elevates the discussion (even while a few personal insults are slung).
Let's quickly dismiss any notion that Goodell was out-of-line. The CBA is an agreement between the NFLPA and the NFL. Pacman Jones is represented by the NFLPA and they signed the agreement on his behalf. Nothing Goodell has thus far done is in violation with that agreement, so let us move beyond arguing that Goodell unlawfully suspended anyone. He did not.
What people think he might have done improper was the length and severity of the punishments, and their relation to one another. As mentioned, Tank Johnson and Chris Henry were convicted of crimes. And, technically, Pacman Jones has never been convicted of a crime. He's been placed on probation, as in January of this year when he was given a six month probation for spitting on a woman in Tennessee. I'm no big city lawyer, though I imagine (allegedly!) smashing a stripper's head on stage and being identified with people at a club who ended up paralyzing somebody is probably a violation of said probation, especially after the Las Vegas Polidce Department advised the District Attorney to charge Pacman with felony coercion, among other things (like battery, for instance).
But none of this really matters as convictions aren't the litmus test by which the NFL operates nor have they ever been. I don't want to call them irrelevant, though I might as well as players are disciplined by the league for countless activities that do not involve any convictions. Employed reader(s) will know that criminal charges need not be issued to you for your employer to terminate your services lawfully and legally. As Roger Goodell pointed out, the Judicial System isn't his responsibility, rather the league is:
And even if "convictions" were a litmus-test for suspensions, which I've suggested it isn't, it certainly wouldn't be the only one. There are other considerations in Jones' case, once you get past the severity in human suffering his behavior has caused, the unprecedented repeat offenses, the total and absolute lack of any sign of sincere contrition (evidenced by Jones' sheepish acknolwedgment to Roger Goodell at an April 3rd meeting to discuss his conduct -- a meeting he incidentally informed the Commissioner that he planned to amelerioate his behavior by, among other things, avoiding the "nightclub scene" -- that he visited a strip club within the past 24 hours. Some might call that lying...), even ignoring all that we can still make an exception out of Pacman Jones given that he failed to disclose two prior arrests to the Tennessee Titans. Which makes him an (alleged!) criminal and a fraud, as that is a violation of the NFL's Personal Conduct Policy:
Hogs Haven agrees with Coach Gibbs on this particular point, that punishment is severe in these cases as a punitive measure to rid the league of the growing perception of thuggery that has marred
the NBA other professional sports. And, according to their Union Representative, the rest of the NFL agrees: