The NFL issued a pair of drug-related punishments this week, suspending Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay and Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker for six games and four games, respectively. Irsay was also fined $500,000 and will not be allowed at the team facility or permitted to attend any league events.
We’ll start with Irsay. Was the punishment enough?
“This is always going to be tricky,” CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora said on The Morning Show. “I think owners should be held to a higher standard than players, and I think there should be parameters in place that make that more or less automatic. But that would mean they’d have to vote on that themselves. It doesn’t work that way. Roger Goodell hasn’t made $72 million over the last three years without it coming out of the pockets – or at least the revenue pools – of those 31 owners plus the Green Bay Packers, who are in a little bit (of a) different situation in terms of ownership.”
“So to think that he was ever going to make a dramatic example out of somebody or go to great lengths – it’s not going to happen,” La Canfora continued. “You’re limited by the $500,000 fine, so then it comes down to how long are you going to tell him he has to stay out of his own building? Would I have liked to have seen it be a half a season or 12 games or even the entire season? Sure. Did I ever think that was going to happen given the dynamics I just laid out? No.”
Welker, meanwhile, may not have played in Week 1 regardless, as he continues to recover from an Aug. 23 concussion. As it stands, he will not be eligible to play until Week 6 when the Broncos face the Jets in East Rutherford.
Welker expressed outrage over the suspension, but La Canfora doesn’t understand why.
“Wes Welker doesn’t have a leg to stand on,” he said. “He’s been in the league forever. He’s been around union negotiations. Tom Brady was a part of that player class that opted out, that basically wanted to decertify the union. So one of his best buddies was very involved in the last CBA battle. They signed off on those drug policies. They’re collectively bargained.”
“Do I think they stink?” La Canfora continued. “Yeah. Do I think the league should be testing guys for pot and cocaine and Mollly? No. I think recreation drugs should be out of it. It should be like the NHL. If you want to test for them, fine, but it’s only used in order to steer guys toward treatment; there is no punitive measure attached to it. But as it stands now, this is what it is.”
“If they could ever figure out HGH and a few other global issues that are affecting some bigger changes that would come in the drug policies, then I think it would take a higher level of pot in your system to trigger a positive test. We would see stronger penalties for DUIs and maybe a lessening of some of these owner drug (offenses). But I don’t know when or if that’s ever going to happen, and in the meantime, this is what these guys are stuck with – and they’re responsible for what they put in their body.”