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Goodell Unclear on Possible Plax Suspension


“I had a two-part Plaxico Burress question for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell this morning at his annual pre-Super Bowl press conference.

The problem is he only answered the first part.

The entire question was (and I’m paraphrasing because I didn’t tape myself): The league has taken no action in the Plaxico Burress situation. We were told by the commissioner’s office he would wait for the legal situation to play out. I’m curious why that’s the case because players have been suspended as soon as charges were pressed. One of them was Chris Henry, who was suspended with the stipulation it would be lifted if charges were dropped and he was acquitted. Was the difference in this case Burress’ suspension was in-season, whereas Henry’s was in the off-season? (The implication being Henry wouldn’t have missed any games if he was acquitted later in the spring of 2007.)

The second part of the question was: If Burress is found guilty of illegal possession of a weapon or a lesser charge and the league suspends him, will Goodell count the Giants’ four-game suspension as time served and perhaps give him whatever punishment he planned to levy minus four games?

Goodell said the lack of action in Burress’ case had nothing to do with the fact the incident was in-season.

“We’re looking at repeat offenders and we may not wait for the process to conclude when we have repeat offenders,” Goodell said, clearly suggesting Burress got a pass for now because he doesn’t have a lot of priors like Henry or Adam Jones did. “You can have false accusations once, maybe twice. When you start getting to multiple (arrests), you’re putting yourself in the wrong position, you’re making the wrong decisions in the wrong places. At that point in time, you’re reflecting poorly on the NFL itself, your teammates.

“I’m very firm on the fact that everyone deserves the opportunity to be defended, everyone has the opportunity, if they make a mistake, to deal with that within the legal process. We understand sometimes the players are targets and we can’t rush to judgment. But again, multiple offenses over a period of time, you’re putting yourself in the wrong position and it reflects poorly.”

Goodell then went on to point out two players in attendance – the Vikings’ Matt Birk and the Eagles’ Brian Dawkins – as well as Kurt Warner, who was represented by his wife Brenda. Those three are nominated for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award. Goodell called them “great people and they represent this game very well, and I think it’s unfortunate when people get a stereotype of an NFL player.”

That was the end of Goodell’s answer. I tried to remind him about the second part of the question, but the problem with his press conference is that, once you ask your question into the mic, you’re done. The next questioner talked over my attempts at a follow-up.

League spokesman Greg Aiello said afterward Goodell hasn’t thought about how much the Giants’ suspension would play into his thinking on a potential league suspension on Burress because his legal situation hasn’t played out yet. Once we reach that point, then the commissioner will decide on how long – if at all – to suspend Burress.

We’re working to see if we can get a comment from Goodell. We’ll keep you posted.”

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