There has been a lot of talk about the new, tougher, player conduct policy in the NFL. At first look you'd think it would make a player think twice before getting involved in shady activity, with their livelihood on the line. On second thought....
Just during the weekend, there have been three, count them, THREE incidents involving NFL players and the long arm of the law. If the NFL is trying to send a tougher message, mission failed. Even the Broncos got touched by an incident, and I'll be honest, every morning I look at the stories revolving around the league I am half-hoping not to see anything about the Broncos.
First, A.J. Nicholson, a linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals, was arrested in a domestic violence case, with Nicholson being arrested for allegedly striking a woman in the eye at his apartment. This isn't the first time Nicholson has been involved with the law, however, like most Bengals players.
Nicholson recently has been in contact with police because he is suspected of driving without a valid license, Easterling said.
Nicholson is one of nine Bengals arrested since Jan. 1, 2006. He avoided jail time in Tallahassee, Fla., but had to serve 60 days in a sheriff's work program and go on probation for two years for breaking into the apartment of a former Florida State teammate last May. Easterling said Kenton County has contacted Florida officials.
The Bengals drafted Nicholson in the fifth round of the 2006 draft. He had a history of off-field problems at Florida State. He was suspended for the 2006 Orange Bowl after violating team policy by taking a woman to the team's Miami hotel. She accused him of sexual assault, but he was not charged.
Up next is New York Jets Cornerback/Return Specialist Justin Miller, a Pro Bowler last season as a returner, who was arrested early Sunday and charged with third-degree misdemeanor assault after he allegedly punched a woman in a New York City nightclub.
Miller was apprehended after a police chase at 4:20 a.m. It appears Miller was trying to hit a guy, but doesn't have very good aim, at least at 4:00 a.m.
Miller also has had some past run-ins with law enforcement, falling in the 2006 draft to the second round due to questionable behavior.
Miller issued an all-too familiar apology after the incident, "I want to apologize to everyone for this situation, including my family, my teammates, the Jets organization, our fans and the entire NFL," Miller said in a statement released on Sunday. "I understand that serving in the NFL is an honor and that I have an obligation to behave in a manner that reflects the privilege I have been given."
Last, but certainly no least to Broncos fans was news this morning that the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office has identified Broncos receiver David Kircus as a "person of interest" in an alleged assault against a man early Sunday morning. Police plan on having Kircus coming in for a police line-up early Monday morning.
The victim suffered multiple broken facial bones in the alleged assault and was taken to Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree for surgery.
According to Robinson, the incident took place about 3:20 a.m. Sunday at a party in Centennial.
"An individual who identified himself (at the party) as Kircus was involved in an allegation that resulted in an assault," Robinson said. "We are currently involved in the investigation, and where we're at right now is a photo lineup to ensure proper identification. I would guess once that's accomplished, we will have some conclusion or resolution to it."
A warrant has not been issued for Kircus, 27, although he was informed by Bronco officials the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Department is seeking his cooperation in the case.
We'll wait for the process to take it's course to see if it was actually Kircus, or if someone was just saying he was the Broncos receiver, but it always makes me nervous when someone who might have been wrongly accused doesn't come out and say it.
When I look at each of the incidents, all three possibly involving football players who can't maintain control of their emotions, one thing becomes painfully clear. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING good can come from being in public at 3 or 4 in the morning. A.J. Nicholson is just a bad person, who has been involved in several incidents at all hours day and night. Miller and Kircus, if he is indeed found to have been involved, were both out late, later than need be, and while we live in a free country, and these guys can do what they want, they have to be aware of what can happen at that time of night, and usually, unfortunately, it isn't good.
It is, of course, too early to tell if Roger Goodell's tough-guy approach is going to work. Bad people, like A.J. Nicholson, are still bad people and will find ways to get in trouble regardless. Guys like Justin Miller and David Kircus, however have to find a way to avoid those situations. Such is the added responsibility of an NFL Player, and while there is alot of perks to the job the rest of us don't get to enjoy, that is a downside.
With the Broncos set to take the field for Day 4 of their QB Camp it is unfortunate that the focus will once again be off the field, and back to the questions regarding off-the-field behavior.
Let me say, as a football blogger, and more importantly, huge fan of the NFL, I am embarrassed by the repeated actions of it's players. Think of the image people have of the NBA, compared to the "image" of the NFL. One is a league of thugs, drug users, etc. The other is clean cut, role models. Oh Really? How many NBA players have been arrested that past 18 months. How about the NFL? It's embarrassing, and we, the fans, keep giving the NFL a pass. Simply embarrassing.
Let's hope this is the LAST TIME the Broncos are involved.
UPDATE -- The burn-in on my 13" CRT monitor hadn't even faded before another transgression by a "pro" football player was reported. If you are a Cincinnati Bengals fan you may want to look away. Chris Henry has reportedly failed a court mandated drug test, testing positive for opiates. That gives Henry the grand slam of arrests, getting nailed for marijuana, DUI, weapons possession, and now, opiates. Oh, and let's not forget the underage girls Henry was drinking with in a motel room.
Henry has already been suspended for the first 8 games of the 2007 season, and with jail time and parole violations in at least two states pending, I wouldn't hold my breath to see Henry on the field next season, if ever.
UPDATE #2 -- Now there are reports saying Henry's test came up NEGATIVE. Further test results are forthcoming.
Also, the woman who repoprted that A.J. Nicholson hit her over the weekend has renegged on that statement, saying instead that she did the damage herself with a cell phone....