Punishments not befitting the crimes

Moose Jaw Times Herald - Editorial Staff
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In the heartland of the stark-crazed Canadian Football League (CFL), it’s the National Football League (NFL) that is being criticized by a bevy of football fans for its recent handling of conduct issues.

According to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, it’s more OK to commit an indictable offence, such as assault, than it is to kick back and smoke a joint filled with marijuana.

Take, for example, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon. He led the NFL in receiving yards during the 2013 season, but after a failed drug test was suspended for the entire 2014 season.

Gordon plans to appeal his suspension on Aug. 1, so he could potentially see the field at some point this fall.

Gordon is a talented football player, but so too is Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.

Unfortunately for Rice, he received a two-game suspension on Thursday for assaulting his then-fiancée Janay Palmer, at an Atlantic City casino back in February.

We’re sorry, but what?

Rice got just two games for assaulting a woman, while Gordon received a season ban for a failed drug test. What is the NFL’s conduct policy coming to? How can Goodell justify these suspensions — especially when coming one to the other?

Granted, the CFL rarely doles out suspensions for off the field conduct policy concerns. Mind you, that’s because CFL players are comparative goody goodies compared to their counterparts south of the border.

They also aren’t being paid millions of dollars in annual contracts, and thus have more to lose if they’re found guilty of pulling a Rice or a Gordon.

Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Taj Smith did not pull a Rice, but he will stand trial in an assault case following an incident outside a nightclub in Regina in August 2013. Until he’s proven guilty — if he’s found guilty — Smith will continue to snag passes from Darian Durant.

Smith was never suspended, but if he’s found guilty, not only will he likely be suspended, but face jail time — something Rice won’t be doing.

There are times when professional athletes deserve more lenient punishments and there are other times when they deserve stiffer punishments.

With Rice’s suspension, it’s obvious Goodell has trouble doling out the proper punishment for committed crimes. Let’s just hope that CFL commissioner Mark Cohon will make the right calls should Smith or other CFL players be found to have broken the law.

All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff.

Organizations: NFL, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens

Geographic location: Atlantic City, Regina

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