Criminal Charges Already Affecting the NFL Roster in 2017
Despite the NFL taking significant steps in cleaning up its image in regard to players and off-field conduct, there are still some lingering issues in 2017, and one player has already been dropped from the season due to criminal charges.While most teams are able to boast strong role models who do nothing but help promote the sport in a positive way, there are already some players this year that have brought some disrepute to the league.Here are three important stories and what they mean for the careers of the players involved, and their teams.
Ezekiel Elliot’s Suspension Still to be Decided as Court Proceedings Linger
Beleaguered running back Ezekiel Elliot of the Dallas Cowboys will have a six game suspension upheld, after a Texas arbitrator denied his appeal. While Elliot will still play in Cowboys’ first game of the season, due to the late timing of the announcement, it is possible that he will start his suspension from Week 2 onwards.The suspension came from domestic violence accusations made against Elliot in 2016. It is alleged that Elliot had been involved in violent incidents against an ex-girlfriend, on at least five occasions. Although no criminal charges were made against Elliot, the NFL decided to suspend him, following an investigation that lasted almost a full year. Elliot, represented by the NFL Players Association, is now seeking a restraining order on the suspension. This could drag out the proceedings and ensure that Elliot doesn’t serve his suspension this season, if at all. This would be something that would work in the favor of the Cowboys, who view Elliot as one of their best running backs. He is crucial to the Cowboys offense, and the loss of him for six games could have a significant impact on their performance. The Cowboys have maintained Elliot’s innocence since the allegations first surfaced.If Elliot does end up serving a suspension, it would be the second year in a row that he misses significant field time. In 2016, he missed most of the preseason due to a hamstring injury. Once he was put back on the roster, he recorded 1631 rushing yards for the season, becoming one of the key players in Dallas’ 13 – 3 winning record for the season.
Ra’Shede Hageman Dropped from the Falcons – Future Uncertain
This week the Atlanta Falcons announced that they had released defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, in relation to domestic violence charges filed against the player in 2016. In March of 2016 the Atlanta player was arrested and charged with cruelty to children and assault on a family member. Although further details of criminal proceedings are yet to be released, there has clearly been some investigation within the team and within the NFL, which have led to the Falcons releasing Hageman from his contract and leaving his future uncertain. Should the NFL find significant reason to enforce a league suspension on Hageman, he will be unable to sign a contract with any other team. As it stands today, Hageman won’t be playing for anyone in the NFL in 2017.Players who violate the NFL domestic violence policy can be suspended for up to six games, but there are more serious sanctions that can be imposed, depending on the incident and the results of an internal query. While it initially appeared that Ra’Shede Hageman would remain on the roster for this year, he was released from his contract on September 4th, two days after he was named on the commissioner’s exempt list.While this leaves his career in question, it is undoubtedly the right move for the Falcons, as they seek to chase a second Super Bowl appearance and a win at the end of this season. Although Hageman wasn’t named to play in the Falcon’s first game of the season against the Chicago Bears, he was on the team’s backup list. The Falcon’s told the media that the decision to release Hageman was made after a “thorough investigative process by local authorities.” His future in the NFL is yet to be decided, and the league has confirmed that their own investigation is pending.While it’s a blow to Hageman personally, it should not have a significant impact on the strength of the Falcons. They’re still ranked by most experts as a Top 5 team in the NFL, and their defense is expected to get better this season, as some promising rookies enter their second professional year.
Cleveland Browns’ T.Y. McGill Cited for Misdemeanor Drug Possession
The Cleveland Browns claimed defensive lineman T.Y. McGill last Sunday, which was promptly followed by news that McGill had been charged with drug possession during the same weekend. McGill will appear in court in October, and may have an impact on his future with the Browns. The team are not talking about the issue to the media, but have released a statement saying that “We are aware of the citation and have spoken to T.Y. directly. Those conversations will remain internal.”The incident with McGill did not result in an arrest, but he did receive a citation for possession of Marijuana.The impact on McGill’s career could be significant. In 2014, the Arizona Cardinals lost Daryl Washington, one of their best defensive players, who was suspended for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. After a long suspension period without pay, Washington was reinstated early this year, before being released by the Cardinals in May. He now remains a free agent with an uncertain future ahead of him.As a first offense, McGill may be given a lenient suspension of at least four games, however, the NFL is yet to make a statement regarding this news.