Tank Johnson of the Chicago Bears was suspended by the NFL for the first eight games of the 2007 season for violating the league’s new personal conduct policy. The defensive tackle recently served a two-month jail sentence on a probation violation on gun charges. He is the third player suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in just over a month for off-field behavior.
Goodell stated that Johnson’s suspension could be reduced to six games if he has no further involvement with law enforcement and undergoes counseling. After meeting with Goodell last month upon his release from jail, Johnson said that he was prepared to accept whatever punishment Goddell handed down and that his goal was to become the NFL’s “Man Of The Year”, the player who is considered the league’s “best citizen”.
This suspension was made possible by several incidents – in December 2006, police raided the 300-pound defensive tackle’s suburban Chicago home and found six unregistered firearms – a violation of his probation on an earlier gun charge. Two days after the raid, Willie B. Posey, Johnson’s bodyguard who had been arrested after the raid, was shot and killed in an early-morning fight while he and Johnson were at a Chicago nightclub. Johnson was subsequently suspended by the Bears for one game for being at the club. He played with the team in the Super Bowl.
I am of the hope that Johnson in fact did indeed learn his lesson and that he also realizes that playing in the NFL is a privilege and not a right. Kudos to Commissioner Goodell for laying the hammer down, something that the previous commissioner, Paul Tagliabue, did not do that often. Michael Vick, you’re next; please have a seat.