By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
The Jacksonville Jaguars were faced with another incident involving the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy when LaRoy Reynolds was suspended by the league on Tuesday. The penalty and subsequent suspension without pay for four weeks comes on the heels of Justin Blackmon beginning his season ending suspension for a third strike of in violating the same policy.
Both suspensions mean the Jaguars will be without two players who play two roles in the potential success of the team. Blackmon is arguably the team’s best player. Reynolds is a player this team depends on for special teams success.
In reality, the two instances of abuse will garner opposite response from the media. Blackmon is a mega-star in waiting, his issues with abuse and the law are noted in the media. The Jaguars will have to make a decision at the end of the season to let the uber-talent wide reciever remain a member of the team, which judging by the offense this past week, needs him in every way possible.
Reynolds is a back up, was a free agent, and worked his tail off to make the team. But unless you are a local fan, a family member or close friend, you know little of him - if anything at all. And because if that, his contract and his standing with the team, where there are hundreds of other guys praying to get a shot like him, this incident will be swept under the rug. And at some point, there may be a question as to whether he remains with this team.
Two players, potentially the same issues - and the coverage is different and we all know why. Money and superstardom speak volumes. The free agent “feel good” story does not get that kind of attention.
And all the while, the major issue isn’t who took the drug, or smoked the weed or drank the beer - it really is about the fact the drugs were taken in the first place.
This Sunday, Jacksonville will take the field with two players suspended. The television commentators will tell us over and over again how much the team misses Justin Blackmon. I doubt seriously they will mention about how a good special teams player is not in the game. Two players, possibly he same problem and only one will be mentioned.
And still, the fact both broke a cardinal rule seems to be secondary in the world of the NFL.
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