Roger Goodell emerged from his secret lair wearing his cape and cowl and announced that Chris Henry and Pacman Jones will fight no more, evildoers!
That's a not-so-nice way of saying that the league got fed up and made scapegoats out of Jones and Henry. Henry's gone for half the year and Pacman's gone for the whole season, barring extreme good behavior. ESPN.com naturally carried this one on the front page, and it's an unsurprisingly boring story. If there's one thing Goodell and the league know how to do, it's take something like curb stomping a couple of players who broke the rules and make it into an even-keeled affair. The lone voice of dissent comes from Pacman's mom, who says the suspension is unfair. Because I expect to hear that again from some source or another, I'd like to take the time to address it now.
Henry was arrested four times and got two games for each. Makes perfect sense to me, and the Bengals won't miss him all that much. But Pacman got the stiffer penalty for basically being a toolbag over a sustained period of time. Pacman's an awesome player on the field and he makes it rain on 'em off it, so his suspension is understandably going to cause some more ruckus. But to say it wasn't fair? I don't agree with that at all. The dude was clearly only going to keep getting in trouble over and over again, because he either didn't fear consequences or just is so used to his lifestyle that he couldn't change. Either way, the only thing the NFL could do to make Pacman understand was suspend him, and a year's pay and a reputation as that guy who was off for a year should go a long ways toward waking him up. But let's be clear on this: if the NFL left him be, he was going to get in more trouble. There's a good chance he still will. A mom's gotta stick up for her son, but c'mon now. Pacman Jones is the NFL telling everyone else not to frigg up any more. If he comes out of it and doesn't get in any more trouble, I'd say it was well worth it. If he doesn't, the NFL should try reaching out with a little bit more of a caring hand. But for now, both playes got what they deserved.