On Wednesday, John Clayton of ESPN reported that Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is expected to be suspended for the first two games of the 2015 season as a result of his August arrest on marijuana and DUI charges, and you would’ve sworn this was earth-shattering news for some people.
Well, it isn’t.
Clayton’s report came just one day after Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert told local members of the media that the organization doesn’t know what the league will do when it comes to disciplining Bell.
“The policy’s been spelled out, at least in terms of this is what it is. Now, how they interpret it, we have no idea,” said Colbert.
Several people think that Bell and the Steelers botched things by not having the case resolved by Nov. 1 in order to avoid a mandatory two-game ban under new substance-abuse policy. Even Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk ripped Bell and the Steelers for this just a few weeks ago.
Florio and several others in the media that are tagging along with this “botched” narrative should probably read the September report filed by Tom Pelissero of USA Today which stated that while the NFLPA informed agents in a September memo that players won’t face newly enhanced discipline under the new substance-abuse policy if they resolve their pending DUI cases by Nov. 1, that grace period only applied to DUI cases involving alcohol, not other illegal substances.
Remember, Bell was charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, not alcohol.
Note: the grace period only pertains to DUI arrests involving alcohol, not other drugs. So, no break for Le'Veon Bell.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 26, 2014
So, I think you can see now why Colbert said what he did Wednesday. The new drug policy says that a first DUI offense, absent aggravating circumstances, will result in a two-game suspension without pay. So, is that for any kind of DUI or just alcohol related DUIs?
Bell’s defense attorney laid things out pretty clearly last week in regard to Bell’s possible forthcoming discipline.
“They now have more liberal aspects to appeal, but I would suspect that this dispositional hearing will certainly subject him to a sanction and if I was a guessing man I would put it in the one or two game area,” said Robert Del Greco.