NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's to-be-unveiled player conduct policy might allow him to issue lifetime bans for players involved in serious criminal activity, according to a published report.
"One thing was clear: Once a player has gotten himself into this fix, it's going to be up to him to get himself out."
-- Gene Upshaw in interview Tuesday
with The Washington Post
NFL Players' Association executive director Gene Upshaw, who was briefed on Goodell's policy, told The Washington Post, however, that Adam "Pacman" Jones and Chris Henry are not facing lifetime punishments. Jones and Henry met with the commissioner Tuesday in New York.
"None of these cases we're talking about will be a permanent ban," Upshaw told The Post in a telephone interview. "I don't think we're at that point yet with these cases. We understand there will be some type of suspension, but not that."
Upshaw and six players met with Goodell on Tuesday. The commissioner briefed the panel on several issues, including the conduct policy, but Upshaw told The Post that Goodell didn't brief the panel specifically on Jones' or Henry's situations. Upshaw and the players left before Goodell's meetings with Henry and Jones.
Upshaw told The Post that under the new policy, a first-time offender would have to undergo counseling and be placed on probation and might be fined. A second-time offender might face suspension if his infraction was considered severe.
"One thing was clear: Once a player has gotten himself into this fix, it's going to be up to him to get himself out," Upshaw told The Post.
Goodell has said he will announce his decision on suspensions or
other disciplinary action for Jones and Henry before the draft on April 28 and perhaps
in the next 10 days.
The NFL had no comment and lawyers for the players had no
immediate response. The meeting with the players was held away from
the NFL offices where six television cameras stationed themselves
with no one to interview.
The Titans could not add much either Tuesday night.
"We have not heard anything from the NFL office," Titans
general manager Mike Reinfeldt said.
Henry is one of nine Bengals who were arrested last season,
leading to calls for a crackdown on player behavior. But Jones has
become the focus for Goodell, who took over as commissioner in
September and has been preoccupied by the issue almost from the
start of his tenure.
"It went pretty good, to have the chance to meet the
commissioner face to face," Henry told The Cincinnati Enquirer.
"I just wanted to explain my situation to the commissioner and
move on. I told him I was learning from my mistakes and how to
handle myself in a better manner."
Since being drafted in April 2005, Jones has been arrested five
times and questioned by police in 10 episodes. Last week, Las Vegas
police recommended he be charged with a felony and two misdemeanors
for his role in a Feb. 19 strip club fight that led to a triple
His lawyer, Manny Arora, did not return calls or e-mails from
The Associated Press. However, he told the Nashville Tennessean on
Monday: "I fully expect him to be part of that team when the
season kicks off in September.
However, Jones' former agent, Gary Wichard, told AP that he
thinks Goodell could be hard on Jones. "In the commissioner's
mind, he's trying to make a statement because the league needs
this," Wichard said.
That seems to be the general consensus around the NFL -- that the
problems have gone too far. Henry, Jones' teammate at West
Virginia, was suspended by Goodell for two games last season and
could face more discipline after serving two days in a Kentucky
jail for letting minors drink in a hotel room he had rented.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.