Today Aldon Smith was suspended from the San Francisco 49ers for 9 games for a variety of incidents including violating the player conduct policy as well as substance related charges. Yet the slap in the face to Josh Gordon isn’t related to the length of Smith’s suspension. Is player conduct more important than substance use? In most cases the NFL has decided for their league, that substance issues will be punished more harsh. Not in Smith’s case:
Source says Aldon Smith 9-game suspension broke down this way: 4 games substance-abuse violation, 5 games personal-conduct violations
— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) August 29, 2014
But that is a small quibble related to all the other problems in the Gordon situation. You know how I feel about the situation from my Letters to Gordon, the NFL and the Browns. Here is where the NFL’s handling of the Smith case is a slap in the face to Gordon:
So not only was Smith’s case handled much quicker, he will also get to be around the team. He will still not get to play and he will still not get to be paid. Yet he will get to stay up to date with what is going on with the team, he will get the daily routine that is helpful for all who are struggling and he will get access to all the state of the art things a professional football team has. Gordon gets none of those.
This is also a slap in the face to the Cleveland Browns. The Browns best offensive player doesn’t get any of the benefits that Smith gets. The Browns also don’t get to keep track of their player, keep him on a regime, keep him up to speed and monitor his progress first hand. The Niners get to do all of those things with arguably their best defensive player. That means the Niners benefit and the Browns do not. The Browns will welcome back Gordon, whenever the NFL kindly allows him to return and have to get him up to speed; physically and intellectually. Not so for the Niners and Smith.
Obviously life is not fair. Anyone expecting such is either far detached from reality or under the age of 13. Yet fairness should be something all employers, or in this case leagues, should strive for at some level. Not all things will be treated equal. Not all situations are apples to apples but in the case of a suspension there are comparisons. Can Ray Rice hang out with the Ravens? Can Gordon be with the Browns? We know Smith will be right there with the team just not on game day and not getting paid.
Every day it seems Gordon’s legal team gets something new to build a lawsuit on. The Matt Prater 4 game suspension, that we covered here, the denial of work in the CFL, here, and today the Smith suspension. I expect that there will be lawyers.
What do you think about this new development in the NFL’s punishment system?