It is a privilege to play in the National Football League, or any professional sports league for that matter. Some guys can’t seem to grasp that concept by continuously doing something to get themselves in trouble off the field, which most of the time results in them not being on the field. This not only hurts the teams, but also the players, being that if they are suspended, they don’t get paid. Sure, these players have millions of dollars – or at least they should – if they manage their money properly, but no player wants to miss out on a game check. The more games a player is suspended, the more money it costs them.
Sheldon Richardson of the New York Jets finds himself in trouble off the field, for the second time in the past month. He was suspended the first four games of this season for violating the NFL’s Policy and Program for Substances and Abuse. He failed a drug test by testing positively for marijuana. Now, in order to be suspended for such things, a player has to have failed multiple tests. All players are aware of the rules and know the drug testing procedure, so to fail not only once, but multiple times and then have a time where it warrants a suspension is absolutely ridiculous. If Richardson tests positive again for marijuana he will be suspended for 10 games.
On top of all of this that has already happened to the 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year, he made matters worse for himself in the middle of July in Missouri, just ahead of the opening of training camp. He wasn’t charged until last Thursday (7/30). He was charged with resisting arrest and numerous traffic violations after a July 14 incident in which he was speeding at 143 mph trying to evade the police. Once he was finally caught, police found a loaded semi-automatic handgun underneath his seat and the car was said to have smelled like burnt marijuana. He had three passengers in the car, including a 12-year old boy. Why on earth would a person, who happens to be an NFL player and has already been suspended for multiple failed marijuana tests be speeding at such high speeds with the odor of weed in the car? And why, if he was in fact smoking, would he do so with a 12-year old in the car?
To make all of this even worse on himself, he was going to avoid telling the NFL and the Jets. He even stated in a press conference at training camp he wasn’t a “dope fiend” and that he didn’t need to smoke weed, but chose to. After telling the media he wasn’t going to be in a situation like this again, he was charged with what he was charged with. Not informing your employer of an off-the-field issue and thinking it will all just blow over is highly immature and childish. How naive can a player in a professional league if he thinks his team and the league won’t find out about something involving the police?
Sheldon Richardson needs to be suspended for the entire 2015 season. What that will do is A. Make him think about the choices he decides to make outside of football and B. Will send a message to the entire league that if you are involved with the police in some way, you need to inform your team. Not only does this hurt Richardson in terms of money, it hurts his team. The defensive lineman is coming off a Pro Bowl season and this will surely not be good for the Jets in terms of replacing him on the field. This whole situation should serve as a reality check for Richardson, because if it doesn’t, he could be going down a path he doesn’t want to go down.