The days are getting colder as we turn from summer into autumn. But amid the changing of the seasons, we see that the NFL is in a heap of trouble due to the abuse scandals with a couple of their prominent players (RB Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens & DE Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers in domestic abuse, RB Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings in child abuse).
As the focus has now been solely placed on those certain individuals and how Commissioner Roger Goodell is handling things, there are other things going on within the NFL. But no matter what goes on, the spotlight and the cameras are still focused on the man holding up the shield.
Dwyer Done for Season
The NFL currently is under a lot of heat for the recent reports of abuse by some of its players (i.e. Rice, Peterson, and Hardy). But just as things couldn’t get any worse, Murphy’s Law happened down in the Arizona desert.
This past Wednesday Arizona Cardinals running back Johnathan Dwyer was arrested this past Wednesday by Phoenix Police on allegations of domestic abuse to his wife. According to police reports, Dwyer punched and head butt his wife in domestic disputes back on July 21 and July 22. Afterwards, Dwyer’s wife took their child and left Arizona. Dwyer posted bond on Thursday and has cooperated with the investigation but says that he did not physical assaulted his wife.
However on Thursday, the Cardinals designated Dwyer to the reserve/non-football illness list, thus ending the season for him. However the reason why they put him on that list was because, according to police reports, Dwyer displayed suicidal tendencies (i.e. sending his wife text messages about killing himself and included a picture of a knife in one case). According to a source close to the team, Dwyer will be undergoing a mental evaluation to see if he is mentally fit to continue to be playing.
With what is happening in the NFL, the Dwyer case just seems to add more fuel to the fire that is already burning. But if there is any silver lining, it’s that the Cardinals took the appropriate actions when handling this case. But whatever the result of this case may be, it’s just another black mark on what appears to be a long season for the NFL.
Hester Surpasses Prime Time
Week 3 began last Thursday night down in Atlanta as the Falcons hosted the incoming Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Many thought that this would be a hard fought game as the Bucs were looking to get their first win in the Lovie Smith era while the Falcons looked to impress in front of their home crowd. However what was projected as a competitive gave turned into a slaughterhouse. In dominating fashion, the Falcons defeated the Buccaneers 56-14.
However for those who were watching the game saw one player achieve football immortality. In the 2nd quarter, the Buccaneers’ offense went 3 and out and had to punt. Punter Michael Konen booted all the way to the Falcon’s 38 to return man Devin Hester. Hester caught the punt before proceeding to outrun the Bucs kick coverage team on a 62-yard punt return touchdown.
Towards the end of the run back as he was getting closer and closer to the goal line, Hester proceeded to place his left hand behind his head and high-stepped the rest of the way into the end zone. Why did he do that? He was paying homage to the one-time Atlanta Falcon player, DB Deion “Prime Time” Sanders. Prior to the punt return, Hester was tied with Sanders for the career return (interception, kickoff, punt return) touchdowns at 19. With that punt return, Hester became the all-time leader in that category with 20. After the game, Hester sat down with Deion Sanders as the latter congratulated the Falcons player on the momentous occassion.
Currently as it stands, Hester has 3,317 punt return yards (tying him 6th overall with former NFL Return man Billy “White Shoes” Johnson), is currently 19th overall in kickoff return yards (5,672), and is ranked 13th overall in combined returned yards (8,989). It’s a great story of success to hear about but Hester still has a lot of football left in him. So you can bet that there will be more return records that will be broken in years to come.
Roger Goodell Speaks to the Press
For weeks now, we’ve seen the video tapes, read the news reporting, heard all the experts in the wake of the recent abuse scandals. At the same time, we’ve been hearing reports about the course of action NFL Roger Goodell took, what he said, what he knew about, and what he did to punish the offenders.
On September 19, 2014, in New York City NY, Roger Goodell held a *press conference with the media to talk about what had happened, what really went on behind the scene, and what the NFL office will be doing going forward.
(*=Note: You can fast forward to the 20:50 mark as that’s when Roger begins his press conference)
There will be people who agree with what Goodell and their will be people who will call for his head. Whatever the case maybe, one thing is for certain. Going forward now, the NFL will be a different place than what it used to be prior to 2014.
New NFL PED Policy
While part of the NFL was busy dealing with how to handle domestic &child abuse cases going forward, there was a momentous change within the organization’s drug policy. This past Wednesday, after weeks of negotiation, both the NFL and the NFLPA came to an agreement on a revision of the current drug policies.
The first policy to be revised was that testing for HGH will be fully implemented for this season and going forward. The process would start at the beginning of October. Penalties for violating this policy or taking any other substances (i.e. steroids) or even a masking agent would result in suspension of games without pay (depending on the situation). The appeal process would be conducted by ‘third-party arbitrators jointly selected appointed and retained by the NFL and NFLPA,’ according to the new policy.
The next policy to be revised in regards of the use of THC/marijuana among players. The original threshold for those to be penalized for having THC in their urine sample was 15 nanogram/milliliter. Under the revised policy, the threshold got upgraded to 35 nanogram/milliliter. This allowing more leeway for players who partake in ‘activities’ involving THC (especially in places were marijuana was decriminalized).
Also the penalty for those who tested positive for use of THC/marijuana have been greatly revised. The following penalties will occur for violators:
First Time Violators -> Referral to substance abuse program
Second Time Violators -> 2-game fine
Third Time Violators -> 4-game fine
Fourth Time Violators -> 4-game suspension
Fifth Time Violators -> 10-game suspension
Sixth Time and Up -> Yearlong suspension
The next policy to be revised was in regards of use of banned stimulants (aka amphetamines) during the offseason. If a player tests positive, they’ll be referred to a substance abuse program instead of facing suspension. But if the player tests positive during the season, they will be suspended for four games without pay.
It was also mentioned that players who were already facing suspension for violating older PED/substance abuse policies (i.e. Wide outs Wes Welker & Josh Gordon and defensive back Orlando Scandrick) will have their suspensions lifted or reduced depending on the situation. This is a momentous occasion between the NFL and the NFLPA, especially with the new HGH testing policies since there had been stalemates in the past regarding the issue. If there is at least one silver lining in Goodell’s tenure as commissioner, this could be his one redeeming moment in a legacy that is heading towards disaster.
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