Daryl Washington's status with the Arizona Cardinals took a hit when news broke that the talented and highly productive inside linebacker would serve a substance-abuse suspension to open the 2013 NFL season.
Now, authorities in Arizona are reportedly investigating a domestic-violence accusation levied against Washington. Arizonasports.com posted information on the case late Wednesday. The Arizona Republic posted a report on its website Thursday.
The NFL's policy on personal conduct covers domestic disputes and reads, in part:
"Apart from any disciplinary action, persons arrested, charged or otherwise appearing to have engaged in conduct prohibited under this policy generally will be required to undergo a formal clinical evaluation," the policy. Based on the results of that evaluation, the person may be encouraged or required to participate in an education program, counseling or other treatment deemed appropriate by health professionals. The evaluation and any resulting counseling or treatment are designed to provide assistance and are not considered discipline; however, the failure to comply with this portion of the Policy shall itself constitute a separate and independent basis for discipline.
"Upon learning of conduct that may give rise to discipline, the League may initiate an investigation to include interviews and information gathering from medical, law enforcement, and other relevant professionals. On matters involving NFL players, the League will timely advise the NFLPA of the investigation and outcome. As appropriate, the employee will also have the opportunity, represented by counsel and/or a union official, to address the conduct at issue. Upon conclusion of the investigation, the Commissioner will have full authority to impose discipline as warranted. Discipline may take the form of fines, suspension, or banishment from the League and may include a probationary period and conditions that must be satisfied prior to or following reinstatement.
"The specifics of the disciplinary response will be based on the nature of the incident, the actual or threatened risk to the participant and others, any prior or additional misconduct (whether or not criminal charges were filed), and other
relevant factors. Unless the available facts clearly indicate egregious circumstances, significant bodily harm or risk to third parties, or an immediate and substantial risk to the integrity and reputation of the NFL, a first offense generally will not result in discipline until there has been a disposition of the proceeding (or until the investigation is complete in the case of noncriminal misconduct)."
Washington has not, to my knowledge, been arrested. He is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The news is damaging regardless, particularly given the four-game suspension Washington is already facing.
The team re-signed Washington to a long-term contract last season, but the team has until after the season to exercise an expensive option.