It appears as though the NFL thinks 160 hours of community service is enough punishment if one of its players pleads "no contest" to simple assault.
An NFL spokesperson said that the latest Albert Haynesworth incident, to which he pleaded no contest in Washington, D.C. Supreme Court on Monday, is under review by the league, but a league source told ESPN that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is not expected to hand down further discipline to the oft-maligned defensive tackle.
Bill Belichick was asked Tuesday if he had heard anything about a Haynesworth suspension, he said, "Whatever the league does, they'll announce."
Patriots players said Haynesworth was back at the team facility in Foxboro Tuesday.
If the league decides not to discipline Haynesworth, it might seriously irritate some Pittsburgh Steelers fans. Their quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, was suspended six games last season (eventually reduced to four) though he has never having been arrested. Haynesworth, on the other hand, has a lengthy rap sheet.
But, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio has some theories as to why Haynesworth may not be suspended.
The prosecutions case apparently had some holes. In fact, weve heard that the authorities were surprised that a grand jury even indicted Haynesworth in the first place.So if the league has utilized its security department to investigate the situation, the league possibly (key word: possibly) has concluded that, despite Haynesworths past issues, there isnt enough evidence to conclude that he did anything wrong in this case.Florio also suggests that the plea deal was a good PR move for both Haynesworth and the NFL, simply because it meant keeping the news of a trial out of the headlines for a few days. Dont discount the possibility that Haynesworths lawyers worked the back channels in order to get a feel for the theoretical impact of a no contest plea on Haynesworths employment. Though the league routinely refuses to provide any official information regarding the potential consequences of the outcome of a case, it would be naive to assume that hypothetical discussions dont happen especially if theres a way to handle a case in a manner that minimizes P.R. fallout.Here, Hayneworths decision to cop a plea avoided several days of media coverage of a trial of a high-profile NFL player. Given that personal conduct policy ultimately is aimed at protecting the shield, a players decision to handle his business in a way that advances that outcome should be welcomed by the league.