The NFL wanted the Kansas City Chiefs to go much easier than the team did after Johnson used three anti-gay slurs two weeks ago. The Chiefs suspended Johnson for two weeks and one paycheck that totals $330,000. But the NFL suggested the Chiefs not suspend Johnson and fine him only $10,000, reports Nancy Gay of AOL Fanhouse.
The running back used numerous homophobic slurs online in a Twitter page battle with fans, and then made another blatant homophobic reference to the media the following day. Johnson did craft a carefully worded apology afterward, which probably paved the way to the suspension settlement.
In Kansas City, sickened fans have had enough of LJ and his mouth, his temper and his attitude. Johnson, who has previously faced accusations of assaulting women in nightclubs and has undergone court-ordered domestic violence counseling for a 2003 battery complaint by an ex-girlfriend, may have twice rushed for over 1,700 yards in a single season, but he has shamed that community enough.
Johnson used "fag," "faggot" and "Christopher Street boy" after he was called out for using Twitter to insult the abilities of head coach Todd Haley. Amazingly, Johnson's agent tried to claim that he had no idea "faggot" offended some people.
Gay writes that the NFL was basing its suggestion to the Chiefs on the $10,000 fine issued to then Steelers linebacker Joey Porter in 2006 for calling Cleveland's Kellen WInslow Jr. a "fag." Gay swatted down that rationale pretty well:
But Porter's $10,000 fine came before the NFL officially issued its now famous get-tough Personal Conduct Policy in 2008, a set of guidelines so strict and so broad in interpretation that it has given commissioner Roger Goodell great latitude to throw the book at numerous high-profile players. ...
The NFL Personal Conduct Policy is all of four pages long, and includes this very sweeping admonition to all NFL players, coaches and employees of what it considers a violation: "Conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity and reputation of the NFL, NFL clubs, or NFL players."
Goodell and the NFL have been silent on what Johnson did, which is disturbing. Goodell is a guy who fines and suspends players for just about any infraction, but what when it comes to a player using an anti-gay slur not once, but three times, he suddenly clams up.
We still don't know whether the Chiefs punished Johnson more for publicly criticizing the coach than for his homophobic comments, but it really doesn't matter since the slurs are what everyone wound up talking about. The Chiefs handled this appropriately, while the commissioner did not.
Hat tip to Pro Football Talk.