While some teammates are standing behind New York Giants kicker Josh Brown after his domestic violence confessions came to light, it might be a bit of a different story around the NFL. In the Baltimore Ravens’ locker room, for example, Brown would have to worry about winding up on injured reserve at the hands of Steve Smith Sr.
At least, that’s what Smith tweeted earlier, though he later apologized for the “extreme” response. Yet while he was willing to let Brown off with a few more harsh words about the state of his manhood, the Pro Bowl wide receiver’s attention turned to the NFL and what he termed a “broken” conduct policy.
Smith has a point, too. Brown was initially suspended just one game despite numerous domestic violence allegations against the kicker. Meanwhile, other players have been suspended far longer, far more quickly for doing far less, or with incomplete information. Here’s the full statement from the 16th-year veteran:
The circumstances that led to Brown only getting a one-game certainly were strange, especially given the hard-line position to league has taken in other instances. The comparison to Deflategate is certainly worth touching on as well, as an NFL rules violation could result in a stricter punishment than breaking a criminal law.
While Smith is right, the only way the players can take control of this situation is to collectively bargain unilateral control over the NFL conduct policy away from Roger Goodell and put a real system in place to deal with offenders. What the league is using now is broken, in part because one person is in charge and there’s often no rhyme or reason to how suspensions are dispensed.
Of course, as Smith says, if people could just stop committing domestic violence, that would be nice, too. In place of that, proper governance by the league.