When charged with a crime, why do some athletes continue to play on Sundays while others face clear consequences?

Since January 2, twenty-one different NFL players have been arrested or charged with crimes.

Four of them were released immediately and the rest received little more than a slap on the wrist.

According to the NFL, players will face consequences if either the legal system or league investigators find they violated the Player Code of Conduct. 

“An individual is subject to discipline under the policy if the person is determined to be guilty of a criminal charge or if the NFL investigation demonstrates the person engaged in conduct prohibited by the policy,” the Code of Conduct reads. 

Additionally, players will get at least a six-game suspension without pay for violations involving assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault.

On July 15, Houston Texans running back Darius “Jet” Anderson, was arrested and charged with burglary with intent to commit assault and theft. The court dropped the burglary accusations and only charged Anderson with a $50,000 bail.

Another part of the NFL Disciplinary decision is if an individual uses present aggravating factors, such as the use of a weapon or a crime against a child. A second offense will result in banishment from the NFL.

After a road rage incident, during which he pointed a weapon at a car full of women, New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Maye faced few consequences. On September 1, he was charged with one count of aggravated assault. He was released the next day after paying a $30,000 bail. In addition, he was charged with a DUI and two other misdemeanors, resulting in a license suspension. Six weeks later, he was stopped by Orlando police for speeding. He was posted a bond of $1,500.

So why wasn’t Maye banned from the NFL? And why didn’t Anderson get suspended for six games? They both broke the NFL’s conduct, but both kept their jobs while numerous others lost their jobs with lesser charges. 

For example, undrafted wide receiver Travis Jonsen was released a day after he was pulled over in Tampa, Florida. He was suspected of drunk driving and refused a blood-alcohol test. Under Florida law, refusing to submit to an alcohol test results in an immediate license suspension.

Why do some keep their roster spots but others get cut from their teams? 

Is it because of the player’s name and how they produce on the field, or is it just the organizations they play for? 

The Texans have had numerous problems off the field. Current Cardinals and former Texans 

organizations still have too much leeway in determining who can maintain their position. Even if a player has a significant influence on a team, should be held responsible. They are humans and players of the game just like many of the other players. 

The player’s name and how they produce on the field shouldn’t matter. And every organization should uphold the same high standards for player conduct. Currently, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and head coach Bruce Arians don’t tolerate a lot of actions that might be tolerated in the Houston Texans’ organization, where former wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was charged with performance-enhancing drug use, former quarterback Deshaun Watson faces sexual assault allegations from dozens of women (but has not been charged with a crime) and their current running back, Anderson, who has never had a carry, catch, yard, or a touchdown in his NFL career, broke the law, too, but remains in the league.

All teams and players must follow the same league rules. 

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