The NFL has suspended new Seattle Seahawks linebacker Mychal Kendricks, but the suspension has been appealed and is expected to be heard in the next 10 days or so. Because the suspension is under appeal, Kendricks can (and will0 make his Seahawks debut Monday night against the Chicago Bears. Seattle really needs Kendricks after already ruling out injured linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. The league actually suspended Kendricks last week after he had a meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Why was he suspended in the first place?
Kendricks pleaded guilty to insider trading last week, even though he never profited off of it. He has made immediate restitution and has no criminal record. He isn’t scheduled to be sentenced to January 24, but he could be facing 30-37 months in federal prison. This definitely brings up a larger question – when it comes to pending charges, how should the NFL respond? In this case, the crime is non-violent, and we have to presume his innocence until a judge rules otherwise. How do the fans feel about this? Does it damage the reputation of the Seattle Seahawks? Please note, I’m not suggesting that it does any of these things, but I am throwing these questions out there as I think it should be discussed.
Let’s take a step back for a moment. Kendricks was released from his previous contract with the Cleveland Browns due to his involvement in this insider trading scam. The issue? He traded tips for cash and Philadelphia Eagles tickets. Further, he admitted to the crime and even plead guilty. The Browns took a hard stance in this particular instance and cut him as soon as the charges came to light back in August. Should the Seahawks have signed him in the first place? Their backs were up against the wall a bit. As I mentioned, they were in need of a linebacker due to some injuries. Which meant, the Seahawks could get Kendricks for a steal.
Because the sentencing has been pushed back to January, the Seahawks get another big win in terms of availability. Even if the other two linebackers were both healthy again during week 3, the Seahawks will still need that quality depth should a problem arise for them later in the season. And with the sentencing hearing not taking place until January, Kendrick should be available for at least every game until the Super Bowl.
Going back to my original question though, I wonder if he should be? I’m certainly not making a judgment call on this, but in this instance, Kendricks has pleaded guilty. He’s admitted to the crime and is facing time in prison. Which makes me wonder if the league’s policy should take that into consideration in terms of being allowed to play. As I said before also, it’s not a violent crime, but is there such thing as a “good” crime? It depends on how you look at things. Crime might be black and white, and if that’s the case, then this is a crime – the same as any other crime. So why allow him to play? We hear more about this in the NFL than any other league, which makes you wonder if there’s something more troublesome going on. I think the NFL needs to re-evaluate their personal conduct policy.