The One Simple Rule that Would Fix the NFL’s Problem and It’s Been Here All Along

It’s a rule that has been implemented in parenting, law, and has become the basis of an entire sport. Three Strikes. It’s a rule that is not only popular for discipline but it is proven to work. What would this rule solve for the NFL?

Since 2000, 826 arrests have been made on NFL Players. If the NFL’s policy on substance abuse were included, that number would’ve been a lot higher than 826, specifically 1,112. That’s the number of times that an NFL player violated the law or the league’s substance abuse policy since 2000.

What’s worse is that there are many repeat offenders: Johnny Manziel, Josh Gordon, and Aldon Smith, to name a few. It’s these repeat offenders that are marring the NFL’s reputation by never learning despite the consequences. I guess if they haven’t learned by now that they are throwing their careers away, then the consequences need to be taken up another level. That’s where my rule comes into play. It’s simple, almost childish, but it would work to solve the issue of players not respecting the law or the league’s rules. It’s just three strikes, and you’re out…of the league.

My inspiration for writing this came from Josh Gordon being reinstated into the NFL and only having a four-game ban placed on him. Let’s take a look at Josh Gordon’s history with the NFL. In 2013, he was suspended two games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. In 2014, Gordon got a DUI and was originally suspended for the year, but the NFL shortened it to 10 games. After he came back, he was suspended for the Browns’ final game after violating team rules. In 2015, Gordon was suspended the entire season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy once again. He applied for reinstatement for 2016 and received a four-game ban. I know that he’s been out of the NFL for a long time and he probably wants to finally play a full season, but I guarantee you that the punishment wasn’t enough to get through to him. I’m willing to bet that he has another offense before the start of the 2017 season.

Another player that can’t stay out of trouble is Aldon Smith. In 2013, Smith was charged with a DUI. After checking himself into a rehabilitation facility and supposedly “getting better”, Smith served a nine-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. After coming back for the rest of the season, he was released by the 49ers in the offseason after facing his third DUI.  Smith was banned for a full year by the NFL in November of 2015.

The NFL has been trying to counteract players like Gordon and Smith by placing bans on them for 2 games, 4 games, and even a full year, and nothing seems to work. With my three-strike rule, these players would be out of the league by now, replaced by players that wouldn’t just throw their careers away like Gordon and Smith.

We’ve all seen the statistics. Only 1.6% of NCAA players make it to the NFL, and even fewer are just guys who aren’t on the practice squad or getting cut by teams. Thousands of players have worked their whole lives to be in their shoes and have failed, only to see some of those who have succeeded continually screw up. Players that have repeat offenses know how special of an opportunity that they get to play in the NFL every Sunday, but I guess they’d throw all of it away to smoke weed. That’s something that I’ll never understand.

If the NFL wants to truly stop all of these offenses, then they need to threaten, however harsh that sounds, to take away what these players love, the game, and then the amount of crime in the NFL would drop tremendously. Players wouldn’t just serve one, two, or four game bans, their

Obviously, it wouldn’t count as a strike if a player received a suspension or a fine for their play on the field, but off of it is where the NFL needs to focus. This rule would help fans as well, believe me I’m considering all sides here. Every fan wants to see the stars like Le’Veon Bell, Josh Gordon, and Aldon Smith out on the field playing every week instead of on the sidelines watching the game. Making these players more cautious of their actions would ensure that they would be able to play in all of the games that they are healthy for.

The NFL can’t go wrong by implementing this policy, and it will only make their reputation better. This rule has worked in parenting, child-care, and the whole sport of baseball is built around it, so why shouldn’t it work for the NFL? My Policy: Strike One. Strike Two. Strike Three. You’re Out!

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