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 Předmět příspěvku: Is the urgency strong enough to make
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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has wide-ranging powers to discipline teams Ugo Amadi Jersey , coaches, players, and, yes, owners.Pending the completion of police investigations in Florida — and likely a league inquiry as well — Goodell could punish New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft for being charged with two counts of soliciting a prostitute.The 77-year-old Kraft was twice videotaped in a sex act at a shopping-center massage parlor in Florida, police said Friday. The charges come amid a crackdown on sex trafficking in which hundreds of arrest warrants have been issued.Under the NFL’s personal conduct policy that states “ownership and club or league management have traditionally been held to a higher standard and will be subject to more significant discipline,” Goodell could fine and/or suspend Kraft from any activities involving the Super Bowl champions.“It is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime,” the policy says. “We are all held to a higher standard and must conduct ourselves in a way that is responsible, promotes the values of the NFL, and is lawful.”Kraft has been accused of misdemeanor charges and might not be required to perform more than community service and attend a course on the harmful effects of prostitution and sex trafficking. Goodell will be judging whether this was “conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in” the NFL.He’s made many such judgments before — including fining Kraft and the Patriots $250,000 in 2007 for filming other teams’ signals, and $1 million in 2014 for deflating footballs during the AFC title game. The “Deflategate” case damaged Goodell’s close relationship with Kraft, one of his trusted advisers on many NFL matters, including labor and broadcast rights.Even though Goodell is employed by the owners, at a cost of about $40 million annually in salary and bonuses Dwayne Haskins Jersey , he views the commissioner’s role as one protective of the game and the league. If you embarrass “the shield,” you are punished.So he doesn’t often hesitate to discipline wayward owners, basically penalizing his bosses.Only one of them, the Indianapolis Colts‘ Jim Irsay, has been suspended by Goodell, who replaced Paul Tagliabue as commissioner in 2006. Irsay acknowledged having a painkiller addiction in 2002 and sought treatment. The DEA investigated, but local prosecutors did not file charges.Then, in March 2014, Irsay was arrested near his home in suburban Carmel and was held overnight after he failed sobriety tests and police found prescription medications in his car. The police said the drugs were not associated with any of the prescription bottles found inside.He was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, along with four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance; police also found $29,009 in cash. He again sought treatment and in September 2014 pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated, agreeing to undergo drug testing for a year. Irsay also acknowledged he was under the influence of the painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone when he was arrested.Irsay drew a six-game suspension and $500,000 fine from Goodell.Last year, Jerry Richardson essentially was forced to sell the Carolina Panthers after allegations surfaced of his sexual and racial misconduct in the workplace. Following a six-month investigation by the league, he was fined $2.7 million by Goodell. Richardson D.K. Metcalf Jersey , like Kraft, was a confidant of Goodell’s on league business matters.In 2012, following a long investigation into the New Orleans Saints‘ bounties system, Goodell fined Saints owner Tom Benson $500,000 and stripped the team of second-round draft picks in 2012 and 2013. But that was for an on-field issue — as was Kraft’s fine for deflated footballs.The current Kraft case, of course, has nothing to do with NFL play. It has plenty to do with Goodell’s use of his disciplinary powers, and there will be a spotlight shining brightly on whatever decisions he makes. If Cam Heyward’s being honest, he’s lost count of distractions the Pittsburgh Steelers have dealt with this season, be they self-created, overblown or otherwise.

The weeks would pass and something that had nothing to do with Pittsburgh’s relatively easy push to a second straight AFC North title and third in four years would pop up. There was running back Le’Veon Bell’s decision to skip training camp . Antonio Brown’s one-sided bout with a water cooler in Baltimore in October. Or rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster’s stolen bike . Or Martavis Bryant’s ill-timed and ultimately ignored trade request.

The list goes on and on. Yet at nearly every turn, the outside noise would be drowned out for three hours every week while the Steelers put together a 13-3 record, a fourth consecutive playoff appearance and a first-round postseason bye. Even a well-deserved week off didn’t pass quietly, with offensive coordinator Todd Haley limping around after getting hurt during an incident at a bar near Heinz Field shortly after Pittsburgh wrapped up the regular season with a victory over Cleveland.


”I think we’ve shunned it to an extent to where it doesn’t really faze us,” Heyward said. ”I couldn’t even tell you all the drama that goes on. I think we’re so focused and goal-oriented when it comes to certain things , we haven’t had time to think about the little stuff. We make fun of the petty stuff. We’ll laugh at the stuff that happens.”

Maybe, but not all chaos is created equal. For a locker room that describes itself as close-knit, there was a moment of doubt. It came in the tunnel at brutally hot Soldier Field on Sept. 24. President Donald Trump’s provocative suggestion that NFL players who protest the national anthem should be fired put the Steelers in a tight spot.

Head coach Mike Tomlin told his players they could do what they wanted, so long as they were united. After failing to reach a consensus, they tried to sit it out by remaining in the tunnel as ”The Star-Spangled Banner” played.

One problem: left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger, ducked onto the field to get a glimpse of the flag. The opening notes began before Villanueva could get back to the tunnel. He turned to face the flag, standing alone and unintentionally providing a stark visual symbol of an issue that in many ways defined the NFL’s season.

Linebacker Arthur Moats called the aftermath, which left some fans burning their jerseys and included Villanueva, Heyward and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger trying to explain how they ”botched” the whole thing, the ”lowest point you could get.”

”It was just a lot of factors that went into it,” Moats said. ”It made it stressful.”

Ultimately, though, it didn’t divide the Steelers.

”That was something no one had ever experienced,” Heyward said. ”That’s something that no one could have prepared for. I thought we handled it good internally after the situation. We got some stuff cleared out and understood it wasn’t the right way to approach it. But we learned. We lived through it.”

And they thrived. The Steelers fell to 2-1 after getting steamrolled in overtime by the Bears that afternoon. Pittsburgh lost just two games the rest of the way. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger emerged from an early funk to reach his sixth Pro Bowl. Brown led the NFL in yards receiving despite missing the final 2 + games with a left calf injury the team hopes will be healed in time for the conference semifinals. Bell’s decision to skip camp ended up saving his legs. A year after watching most of an AFC title game loss to New England with a groin worn down by a heavy workload Gary Jennings Jr. Jersey , Bell is fresh.

Just as important, Pittsburgh has built up an immunity to what Tomlin calls ”outside noise,” even if it’s not outside at all.

Last January, Tomlin spent the week between a road playoff win in Kansas City and a visit to New England for the AFC championship game dealing with Brown’s decision to stream video from the victorious locker room on Facebook. Don’t expect that to happen this time around.

”We treat things that happen like anybody else should,” wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey said. ”You get pulled over for speeding, you get the ticket. You hopefully learn. That’s kind of like that. It’s different tickets but once that ticket happens, it’s like, `Oh, don’t do that one. I got you.’ I know it sounds crazy, but it works for us. Everybody knows, `Don’t bring your phone out.’ We almost laugh at it knowing, `Don’t do that.’ It’s just the personality of our team.”

One that’s been pointing to the 2018 Super Bowl from the minute it walked off the field in Foxborough 12 months ago.

”We have a lot of guys primed for this moment,” Heyward said. ”We don’t know what our team is going to look like next year. We’ve got to make the most out of this situation. The urgency has to be felt from here on out.”

Is the urgency strong enough to make sure the turmoil of the fall will disappear in January?

”Ask me in three weeks,” Heyward said. ”We’re still fighting off some demons right now.”

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