Now we know.
The National Football League has finally spoken.
Well, at least according to multiple reports they have — and the league acted sternly but fairly from this vantage.
Multiple reports Thursday claim Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell has been suspended for the first three games of the 2015 season and fined an additional game check for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. This all comes following Bell’s August blunder wherein he and former teammate LeGarrette Blount were arrested in Ross Township for hotboxing Bell’s fancy car along McKnight Road.
Bell was driving and got drilled for marijuana possession and DUI.
Not the most severe of transgressions, but not one the NFL should just forget about either. That said, as word also comes that Bell is appealing the suspension, the public outcry in this part of the world appears to lean toward a notion that the league was too severe, that two games would have been enough.
Why is three games too much for driving impaired on what we all know is one of this area’s busiest roadways?
Forget about the roadway being busy, why is a three-game suspension too much for driving impaired at all, anywhere, at any time?
Why is it out of the realm of responsible thinking the Bell should be made to sit three games?
I’ll answer my own question here: People want to immediately point to the Ray Rice domestic violence situation (which has nothing to do with Bell) or even the Ben Roethlisberger situation in Georgia (which, again, has nothing to do with Bell) to set some sort of parameters as to how Bell should have been punished.
Perhaps those guidelines work for you, but if there’s anything we’ve learned in the punishment process handed down by Roger Goodell, it’s that each transgression is taken on a case-by-case basis and handled seemingly independent of another one.
If you don’t understand that by now, that’s on you.
Also, if you don’t understand that Bell was guilty of incredibly reckless behavior that merits missing three weeks of the season, then you and I won’t ever see eye to eye on this.
Believe me, I’m not prudish, starchy or stiff and have done my share of partying, but if you do it outside the confines of the law you can expect a chance that the ramifications can be harsh — and that’s what is happening here.
Bell took a chance and got burned.
In a way, however, it seems to me Bell is being punished as much for being boneheaded as he is for breaking the law. And, in a big way, I haven’t much problem with that as often times the best way to make sure something doesn’t happen again is to have the first occurrence be met with tough consequences.
So, no matter your stance on the use of medicinal and/or recreational marijuana use — and I will care to leave mine out — one thing remains that can’t be argued: Bell broke the law here in Pennsylvania.
That said, he also grossly erred in judgment knowing a potential misstep with the law could jam him up with the NFL and put him in jeopardy of being suspended.
That’s on him.
All the way on him.
And guys in the NFL should know by now if they put themselves in a position like that, they put themselves in a position to have Roger Goodell do just about anything he wants with the punishment.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at email@example.com. Check out his bio here.