NFL apparently thinks marijuana possession roughly same as domestic violence

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner
NFL apparently thinks marijuana possession roughly same as domestic violence

The NFL is still being criticized for giving Ray Rice a light, two-game suspension, as well it should.

The league did a really poor job explaining why the Ravens running back got a surprisingly short suspension for an incident in which he allegedly knocked his fiancee (now his wife) unconscious and dragged her in an Atlantic City casino. One possible explanation is that NFL punishment was lighter because Rice avoided trial in his case by accepting a deal in which he entered a pretrial diversion program. 

Now we get to a fairly apples vs. apples argument, and that's with the one-game suspension of Bills linebacker Nigel Bradham.

What did Bradham do to get his suspension? Injure another person? Put someone in harm's way? Physically abuse a female companion? Nah, he had a little bit of marijuana on him.

Bradham was charged last year for marijuana possession. He wasn't even arrested because the amount he had was so small. The charges were dropped. Yet, the NFL took it upon itself to protect the masses from the horrible, heinous crime of marijuana possession (legal in two states) and suspended Bradham to ensure the image of the league remains pristine.

So let's get this straight. Possessing a small amount of marijuana with charges dropped? Short suspension. Beating your wife or fiancee? Short suspension. If Bradham's marijuana charges weren't dropped, what does he get, four games?

Way to be entirely tone deaf on not just one issue but two issues, NFL.

The league has a domestic violence problem, and it totally blew a chance to send a message in Rice's case. By giving a similar suspension to Bradham for an off-field issue that practically nobody cares much about anymore makes the Rice suspension look even dumber (and don't give me that Rice's suspension was twice as harsh – we all can be honest and throw both of these suspensions into the same "light" category because giving Rice 1/16 tougher of a penalty isn't swaying me).

“It’s related to what happened last year,” said Bradham following Wednesday’s practice, according to the Bills' website. “The commissioner said I wasn’t disciplined from the NFL last year so I guess it rolls over into this year. Everything was dismissed and I’m not in a substance abuse program or anything. Since everything was dismissed it’s kind of shocking and kind of disappointing that it came back again. I tried to appeal it but the appeal was declined.”

The NFL is usually pretty good at handling unwelcome issues in a way that it avoids public-relations nightmares. Lately, the league just looks like it has no idea what's going on in the world.


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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!