Wednesday, May 30, 2007

How Will Roger Goodell Handle Eric Weems?

Most of you probably don't know who Eric Weems is. He just wrapped up a fairly successful "career" of playing college football for the Bethune Cookman Wildcats. Last year, he racked up 69 receptions for 918 yards and 9 touchdowns. There's no doubt that he's a talented athlete, and eventhough he wasn't drafted by an NFL team in April he did sign as a free agent with the Atlanta Falcons in early May.

However, Weems' young NFL career could encounter some early problems, as he was sentenced Tuesday to "24 months of probation for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony." That is, if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handles Weems with the same strict discipline that he's doled out to players like PacMan Jones and Chris Henry.

This is something that I've been curious about since Goodell made it obvious that he wanted to "clean up" the NFL. Would players who weren't as popular or well-known get punished just as hard? Obviously, players that are the "face" of the NFL have to watch their every step because at any given time someone could be snapping a picture or recording video with a cellphone and posting it online. However, what about guys that are known in their hometown, but not by casual fans or non-football people? Is Goodell going to apply his brand of justice equally across the board, or is it going to be more of a sliding scale based on popularity and marketability? I also wondered this when David Kircus was arrested, and even had a restraining order taken out against him. Since then, though I haven't heard or read anything from Roger Goodell regarding meeting with Kircus or any type of punishment.

I'll do my best to track any actions that Goodell takes in response to Weems receiving probation, and post them here. In my opinion, things could get a bit more intriguing should Weems make it through camp, and earn a roster spot with the Falcons. Though, with Mike Vick's situation getting a little more suspect each day the Falcons probably aren't too focused on whether Weems could face any type of discipline from Goodell, but it is something to keep an eye on.

Photo courtesy of Barbara Perez, Orlando Sentinel.

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