By Joseph Sykes | Sports Editor
The NFL has a long history of making questionable calls when disciplining its players. From the Ray Rice situation last summer to the “Deflate-gate/Ballghazi” scandal this past offseason, commissioner Rodger Goodell and his minions have continued to amaze its followers with flub after flub.
The NFL’s latest blunder, which came after Sunday’s Cincinnati Bengals-Oakland Raiders Week 1 matchup, sparked plenty of outrage due to its abysmal handling.
On a play during the first half of the interdivisional matchup, NFL fans witnessed one of the more despising acts to take place on the gridiron in recent years. After Raiders’ full back Jamize Olawale was forced out of bounds by the Bengals’ defense, Cincinnati cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones wrestled wideout Amari Cooper to the turf before ripping the rookie’s helmet off. Jones then proceeded to slam Cooper’s skull into the back of his helmet.
The act, of course, warranted an unnecessary roughness call from one of the referees, but shockingly, nothing else. Fans expected officials to toss Jones from the game, but that moment never came. In fact, the NFL states in its rule book that if a player uses their helmet as a weapon, it’s an automatic disqualification, but for some reason, the league didn’t follow through.
After the debacle, Mike Pereira, former NFL Vice President of Officiating, tweeted, “[Jones] has to be ejected … he slams [Cooper’s] head down on the helmet … he’ll get a big fine.” And while he did receive a fine, it angered fans and sportswriters alike that Jones basically got away with assault without receiving a suspension.
What’s more upsetting is that Jones is known to be an NFL “bad boy.” The ex-Tennessee Titan has been arrested eight times during his career with two arrests warranting season suspensions.
This begs the question: Why is Jones getting off nearly scot-free after Sunday’s incident? Well, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder, the NFL states that a suspension wasn’t warranted because Jones didn’t swing his helmet and Cooper wasn’t injured.
Some writers took to Twitter and their blogs to condemn the NFL for its faulty explanation. One writer, Levi Damien of SB Nation, laid into both the officials as well as the league for its irrational reasoning.
“For some reason the NFL is making a real effort to keep Adam Jones on the field,” Damien said on the popular sports hub. “Not only did the officiating crew in the game Sunday neglect their duties by not ejecting Jones, but now the NFL is doing their damndest to not make up for it.”
Unfortunately, the world will never know what was running through the minds of the officiating crew and the NFL’s higher-ups. But is anyone really surprised by this? A domestic abuser (Rice) initially gets two games for punching his wife, while a quarterback (Tom Brady) nearly earned four for only deflating footballs. After mismanaging these and many other similar cases, the league looks as if it has no idea what it is doing and its handling of the Jones case proves it still hasn’t learned its lesson.
The only way for the NFL to get back on the right track is to call for Goodell to step down; if not this season, then next. When someone’s job becomes too much for them to handle, then their days are numbered.