Here’s a break-down of the terrible things some NFL players have down to get suspended from playing football professionally. Let’s see if you can organize them in order from the worst offense to the least, based on the punishment the NFL handed out to the players involved:
A) This player tested positive for marijuana his rookie NFL season that he spent on injured reserve. He then played in Canada for three years and didn’t take any NFL drug tests. Then he tested positive for marijuana after joining an NFL team that plays where adult recreational marijuana use is legal.
B) This player ran an illegal dog fighting operation where he admitted to electrocuting and killing many dogs. Following his two-year prison term he was welcomed back into the league with the help of lobbying by one of the league’s most influential coaches.
C) This player was charged with three felony firearms crimes (just reduced to misdemeanors), was arrested for DUI, and was involved in a fake bomb threat at Los Angeles International airport.
D) This player drove drunk and wrecked his car, killing his teammate who was riding in the passenger seat.
E) This player knocked his then-girlfriend out and dragged her unconscious body through a hotel lobby.
Well, save your time trying to figure out the order, because I put them in order for you.
A) is Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner. His 2005 drug test failure combined with not taking league drug tests in 2007-2010 meant his 2013 failure was considered a third strike, eligible for the NFL’s lifetime ban. The Cardinals’ Daryl Washington and the Browns’ Josh Gordon (the NFL’s leading receiver last year) were suspended a year each for their second failed tests.
B) is Michael Vick, of course, who technically was “suspended indefinitely” by the NFL when he was convicted of running “Bad Newz Kennels” in summer 2007, but was welcomed back to the league in summer 2009 once he served his 23 months in prison. Can we really count a suspension as a punishment when a guy’s in prison anyway? Suspension as punishment would be if he wasn’t allowed back into the league for a few years when he could play. Even if we consider Vick’s two years off the field as punishment, that’s just twice the punishment as second failed marijuana test.
C) is 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith, who took a voluntary leave of absence after his DUI arrest, missing five games. The team anticipates he’ll get four-to-six games suspension.
D) is former Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent. He retired in 2013 and received 180 days in jail for intoxication manslaughter in his December 2012 car wreck that killed the Cowboy’s Jerry Brown, Jr. He is now applying for reinstatement to the league following a stint in rehab. He also could face a four-to-six game suspension.
E) is Ravens running back Ray Rice who was arrested in the offseason for assault on his then-fiancée, now-wife Janay Palmer, who he knocked unconscious and dragged out of a hotel elevator, according to security camera footage. The league handed him a two-game suspension last month.
Torture and kill dogs and you get half the punishment as a player caught failing a marijuana test for the second time. Drive drunk, kill your passenger, tote illegal guns, and/or make terrorist threats in an airport and you might get the same punishment (4 games) as a player caught failing a marijuana test for the first time. Beat a woman into unconsciousness and you get half the punishment as a first-time pot drug test failure.
Because, of course, the NFL wants to send the right message to the children.