Is the NFL Learning Its Lesson?

Richie FenderCorrespondent IDecember 3, 2008

What can I say about the rough seas brewing in the NFL? Legal troubles around every turn. It's time for the NFL to lay down the law and make sure this the NFL doesn't end up the "No Future Law" league.

Exhibit A: Adam "Pacman" Jones
Exhibit B: Plaxico Burress

Exhibit A: I don't believe I've seen a player given more chance than I have with Adam "Pacman" Jones. A man who turned a new leaf and wanted to drop his troubled "Pacman" nickname but hasn't shown a reason why we should.

Jones will rejoin his teammates on a limited basis and then return to full-time practice. His first game back will be on Dec. 7 in Pittsburgh against the Steelers.

Worrick Robinson, Adam Jones' Nashville-based attorney said, "He much appreciates the Cowboys and Jerry Jones for standing behind him and encouraging him, and he's grateful to the commissioner. It all starts with him and his decision-making. He's comfortable making decisions for himself."

Robinson continued by saying, "There was a period of time where security was in place and it worked, but just like anything, it wasn't foolproof. If the individual, in this instance, Adam Jones doesn't want to make the right decisions to protect himself and the team and the league, then the security is not going to be of any benefit anyway.

"Adam and I have talked about that, and he understands that very clearly and he agrees with that. He's willing to accept the responsibility of making his decisions without being influenced by a security guard."

Now, time will tell if Adam Jones can police himself. The Cowboys will no longer be providing babysitters, I mean bodyguards.

This may be Adam Jones' final chance to stay in the NFL. According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Jones must strictly adhere to the terms of his reinstatement and any missteps will lead to a lifetime ban from the NFL.

He must now continue intensive rehab and counseling on an outpatient basis. Even a missed appointment will mean the end of Jones' troubled career in the NFL.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell claimed he would have a "ZERO" tolerance policy with Jones if he were suspended again, but as we all know, he was suspended in October for fighting with his own bodyguard in a Dallas hotel. I thought zero mean none?

Why wait for that missed appointment which we all know he will miss and toss him out now. He's been given chance after chance.

Exhibit B: As if Pacman wasn't enough to munch on, there's the tale of a Giant causing trouble in New York. New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress accidentally shot himself in the right thigh last Friday night. He was allegedly trying to enter the club with teammate Antonio Pierce when they were stopped by security guards.

Burress started to unload the gun and bobbled it. Apparently the gun accidentally went off and shot through his leg. Club security tried to call an ambulance for the NFL receiver, but Burress refused. He actually took himself to Cornell Medical Center and was released after being treated.

Let's keep in mind people, this was a concealed weapon. Officials have stated that Plaxico does not have a concealed weapons permit.

Now the plot thickens. Reports also indicate that Burress had a Florida gun permit but that the permit expired in May. New York law prohibits the possession of a concealed weapon within New York, even if one is licensed in an outside state.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in 2006, led the way to stiffen gun laws in New York City making it a mandatory three-and-a-half-year sentence for being busted for illegal possession of a firearm within the city.

New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg has said that the Giants receiver should face a minimum of a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence if convicted of having a gun illegally at a New York club over the weekend. Bloomberg also told the New York Post that anything short of the minimum for felony gun possession would be "a sham, a mockery of the law."

Bloomberg told the newspaper, "Our children are getting killed with guns in the street. Our police are getting killed, that's why the state legislature passed the automatic sentence if you get caught with an illegal gun. I think it would be an outrage if we didn't prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, particularly people who live in the public domain. If we didn't prosecute to the fullest extent, then I don't know who on earth you would."

Bloomberg also criticized the Giants for not volunteering information to NY police about Burress accidentally shooting himself, and said he saw little wiggle room in allegations against Burress. "It's pretty hard to argue the guy didn't have a gun (and) that it wasn't loaded. You've got bullet holes in and out to show it."

Plaxico Burress was charged with two felony counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree but was released on a $100,000 bond. Burress was ordered to return to the Manhattan Criminal Court by Judge Felicia Mennin on Mar. 31.

A grand jury will hear evidence and make a decision on whether Burress will be indicted. Illegal possession of a firearm carries a sentence of three-and-a-half to 15 years in jail.

Let's take a look back at Plaxico's notable past off-field incidents:

- September 2008: Suspended for one game versus the Seahawks for an unexcused absence.

- June 2008: Fined $42,000 by the Giants for missing team mini-camp meetings

- September 2006: Fined by Tom Coughlin for missing team meetings

Plaxico Burress is done for the year. The New York Giants have fined and suspended Burress for four games which is the rest of the regular season. They also placed him on the non-football injury list, which means he couldn't come back for the playoffs.

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said, "When you lose a player of Plaxico's ability, it is incumbent that everybody step up and fill the void. In the last two seasons, this team has done an outstanding job of that."

Fines in the NFL typically mean a player loses a paycheck for each game he misses. In this case, that would mean roughly $206,000 per regular-season game. He also was due to receive $1 million from his signing bonus on Dec. 10. The team may go after that payment as well.

Take this note down, Plaxico is done with the Giants. Who knows, maybe he'll fit in with the Cowboys instead. Not to mention is legal troubles if found guilty.