Monday, July 14, 2008

Give Henry free

My boy Zen put me on to this story about suspended NFL receiver Chris Henry earlier today.

I'm not speechless. I'm not even surprised. I'm just extremely curious to know how the NFL and its self-annointed Czar of Justice, Roger Goodell, plans to right this very obvious wrong.

"All we could say is this would be reviewed at the appropriate time, and all factors would be considered," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the AP.

Well, the time to review all the "factors" was after the criminal justice system had worked itself out. Isn't that ethos of our country's legal system: innocent until proven guilty?

But, no, Czar Goodell was so eager to prove some sort of ridiculous point that he rendered judgment before an actual judgment had been rendered. A one-year suspension for Chris Henry. On the basis of an arrest. Which is not the same thing as a conviction.

In a larger sense, I'm upset that the NFLPA would even allow something like this to pass through on their watch - I guess that goes back to Gene Upshaw.

I've always thought it odd for pro teams and college squads to suspend or punish someone until their case has run its course. Why the rush? To appease the media? The fans?

Wouldn't it be more prudent to allow someone to have their day in court?

I've covered cops in about three different states now, and the one thing you quickly find out is that the police department often (at least more than you'd think) throws charges against the wall and hopes something will stick; the DA's office often keeps them in check. A criminal lawyer could speak to this better than I could. But an arrest in no way should signify guilt.

So what's next for the Czar? It should be a quick reversal of that ridiculous suspension. If not, Henry should find himself a good and fearless lawyer.

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