Last time, I wrote about the excesses of crazy Hollywood girls, so it’s only fair to take a look at the male equivalent: the esteemed members of the NFL. There’s a lot of excess going on there, too, and I’m not just talking about the terms of Chad Pennington’s contract. The commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell, recently established a Personal Conduct Policy as a response to the increasing occurrences of off-the-field misbehavior. The threat looms over the heads of players, threats such as suspensions, fines, and possible exclusion from playing in NFL games, the latter a particularly nasty threat to the league as a whole with the exception of the Detroit Lions. Still, it can be hard to remember who did what to warrant punishment, so here is a list of misbehavior in the NFL:
Tank Johnson (Chicago Bears)
Offense: Possession of a handgun; then, while under probation for this offense, a search at his home produced six firearms, including assault rifles. Also, his bodyguard was killed. Whoops.
Official Excuse: The multitude of weaponry simply displays his commitment to the Bears’ defense. Also, he was born in Gary, Indiana, where not carrying a firearm to do such mundane tasks as clubbing and grocery shopping was a criminal offense, the only way out being forming an R&B band with your creepy-ass brothers.
Penalty: Under the terms of his house arrest, he was not permitted to drive himself or travel outside the state of Illinois. A judge made an exception so that he could go to Florida to participate in the Super Bowl. He was thus granted the single, longing taste of the Superbowl, only to have it unmercifully destroyed by Peyton Manning’s incredibly unexplainable hand-eye coordination. Or perhaps it was the existence of Rex Grossman, I don’t know.
Precedent: No precedent, per se, but it is important to note that residents of certain other NFL cities such as, oh, I don’t know, Green Bay, Wisconsin, or Nashville, Tennessee, routinely bring assault rifles to home games as a matter of course, but usually for the purposes of assaulting deer who are trying to move in on their women when they go to after-game square dances.
Terrance Kiel (former San Diego Chargers)
Offense: Selling drugs and urinating in public. But the most important thing he’s in trouble for is that he tried to ship codeine-based cough syrup across state lines, which to me is by far the most amusing thing for an NFL player to be caught for, besides cottaging or certain kinds of securities fraud.
Official Excuse: He had an excrementally bad cough waiting for him in Texas.
Penalty: Free agency. Also, 10,000 hours of community service, which seems like a ludicrous number to me. I think I’d rather spend a year and a half in jail then spend every afternoon in the summer telling kids that while it’s cool to play professional football, you want to stay away from the funky stuff, and just ‘cause the package says “over the counter” doesn’t mean it’s kosher to buy it in bulk. Also, pee indoors.
Precedent: Legendary QB Dan Fouts was ones addicted to Halls Eucalyptus Cough Drops.
Michael Vick (Atlanta Falcons)
Offense: Vick is currently under investigation for housing a dogfighting ring in his house, which is conveniently being house-sat by someone that Vick has apparently never seen before in his entire life. The biggest crime, however, is spending $40,000 betting on tenuously illegal dog fights when you are currently making $167 million dollars.
Official Excuse: He doesn’t know nothin’ about nothin’. Vick claims that he’s being taken advantage of by the relatives that are staying at his house; however many contend that they can place him with ringside seats at the canine Ultimate Fighting Championships, which is technically slightly less stupid than the real Ultimate Fighting Championships. Vick is too involved with his fans to participate in dogfighting anyway, such as flipping the bird to the home crowd, blowing off congressional testimony, hiding inhalable jewelry in water bottles, and spreading genital herpes.
Penalty: Dogfighting is a felony, so if convicted will be traded to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Precedent: Despite his clean-cut reputation, Tiki Barber routinely consumed a raw Corgi in view of the opposing team’s locker room before every away game to intimidate his rivals.
Larry Zierlein (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Offense: This offensive line coach was caught forwarding a pornographic and inappropriate email to every single member of the NFL management team, which to me is the single most hilarious thing on the face of the earth. I hope it was that monkey that peed in his mouth. Though I don’t think that’s classified as pornographic. I think.
Official Excuse: Everyone makes mistakes, especially with these newfangled computers and somesuch. I mean, it’s not like he was riding a motorcycle without a helmet or anything.
Penalty: He is no longer permitted to have any of his wishes come true by forwarding a jpeg of a dancing frog wearing a party hat to his fourteen closest friends within two hours.
Precedent: Alan Faneca once sent $14 million to a deposed Nigerian diplomat and is hoping that Dan Rooney doesn’t find this out before contract negotiations start up again.
The Cincinnati Bengals
Offense: Hey, this is just easier, OK? The Bengals have somehow managed to make getting arrested an art form, apparently bringing those lessons learned from the cast of Diff’rent Strokes to the gridiron. In the past three years or so, we’re looking at an accumulated list of embarrassing offenses, such as but not limited to (and as of this writing): resisting arrest, providing alcohol to minors, DUI, DWI, spousal battery, vandalism, operating a vehicle while impaired, domestic violence, drug possession, and possession of marijuana.
Official Excuse: Forget it, Jake, it’s Cincinnati.
Penalty: They all have to learn how to pronounce “Houshmandzadeh.”
Precedent: The entire roster of the Buffalo Bills was eventually placed under citizen’s arrest in 1994.
Pacman Jones (Tennessee Titans, at least for now)
Offense: One of the more amusing things I get to do in this endeavor is to learn something new every day. Here I sit at my computer being all smartass-like, and yet there are certain cultural phenomena that I am blissfully unaware of. Apparently, the harsh evolution of urban culture has produced the concept of “Making It Rain,” whereas the subject takes a large amount of money presumably secured in small bills, throws the collective pile into the air, and watches in apparent glee as it flutters downward as gravity puts in its usual day’s work. Hey, to each his own, but I guess people who have $80,000 to literally play around with can do this sort of thing without a second thought. Though Pacman Jones did have second thoughts—he made it rain (oh, I can’t believe I have to type that) at a local strip club during the NBA finals, and then was appalled when one of the ladies had the nerve to actually pick up some of the bills. So much so that he grabbed her by the hair and slammed her head on the runway. The resultant chaos is the reason for his current suspension.
Official Excuse: $80,000 is a touch too much for a standard lap dance.
Penalty: Currently, Jones is on a one-year suspension from the NFL, the first in a more drastic application of the organization’s personal conduct policy. Also, he’s not allowed in any strip clubs anywhere except certain parts of New Orleans.
Precedent: While Jones only wasted 80 thou, the Cowboys wasted about $25 million on Terrell Owens. At least Jones got some bouncy cleavage out of the deal.