Punishment For Arrests? Depends On Your Record.
The NFL is unable to escape the police blotter and never will be able to under the current systems in place. This past week is a perfect example of just that. Kansas City wideout Dwayne Bowe (Sunday Night) and Atlanta running back Jason Snelling (Friday Morning) with both arrested this week for similar offenses but are facing much different penalties. It’s worth noting that the teams these players represent are speeding in opposite directions and therefore their punishments are also on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Dwayne Bowe, just awarded a five-year $56 million dollar contract in March ($15 million up front) has done little to prove his worth by racking up a measly 369 yards on 33 catches and a pair of T.D.’s in 2013. His team however, is 9-0 and leading the AFC West. Don’t think therefore that Bowe’s lack of suspension for Sunday’s mega match-up with the 8-1 Denver Broncos is any sort of coincidence.
Although Bowe has faced suspension before in 2009, it was under the performance-enhancing drug policy so somehow he isn’t a repeat offender and will face little more than a single strike against him. Considering that the contract was just signed in March Bowe will also avoid this recent news affecting his bank account in any significant way, he won’t hit the open market until he is 35 anyways.
Jason Snelling was pinched at 4:20 AM on Friday morning (you can’t make this stuff up) after swaying between lanes. Toss in an invalid driver’s license, no insurance, improper use of a dealer plate, possession of Marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia and Snelling really knocked this one out of the park. It’s also worth noting that Snelling’s Falcons are 2-7 on the year and facing their first losing season since 2007 after a 13-3 campaign in 2012.
Snelling is a bit player, on a bad team this year. Bowe is the best wideout on an unbeaten team facing the next best team in the conference as well as their division. The sad part of this league is that we all saw how this one would play out. Andy ‘I am the Walrus’ Reid came out mid-week and announced that Bowe would play while Mike Smith was quick to inform the media that Snelling would be home this week as his team traveled to Tampa Bay.
Is Snelling at home because is mistook his weed for Cinnamon Toast Crunch during the traffic stop? No. He is at home because Atlanta’s season is over and it’s easy to make an example when you’re in that position. If Reid sits Bowe and they lose at Denver (which they probably will anyways) then he is under the microscope. Regardless of the fact that this is strike two for Bowe and he was more focused on getting to Sonic than facing any sort of responsibility during the arrest.
Playoff positioning will always take precedence over doing the right thing in the NFL. These rules are negotiated by a room full of lawyers from both sides trying to find the sweetest deal for their millionaire bosses. The coaches want to win games and couldn’t care less what effect the image of their players has on the team, city or owners. Until someone holds these players responsible for their arrests they will continue to be a part of the culture in the NFL, the lawyers representing the NFLPA will do a great job ensuring that it never happens however.
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Down and Distance Contributor- Justin Arbogast @JustinArbogast