clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tank Has A Legal Leg To Stand On

While I hope Tank just takes what he is given and deals with it, a sports agent and criminal lawyer has pointed out that Tank Johnson would have a strong case to appeal any suspensions.

The case would be based on the fact that Tank's charges occurred prior to the commissioner's new no tolerance policy and they cannot be retroactively applied.

In theory, Johnson might have a legitimate legal challenge to present against the league and seek to recoup a portion of the stack of $30,000 paychecks he will forfeit for each game he misses in 2007. He could argue that Goodell's new, no-tolerance policy punishes him retroactively when he should have been subject to the old rules.

As noted sports agent and criminal lawyer Steve Zucker pointed out, in the real world if Johnson had been arrested for a crime in December and Illinois laws stiffened Jan. 1, his penalties would have been bound by the previous state statute. In other words, Goodell is tougher on crime than your local judge.

"It's not fair," Zucker said. "Laws do not apply retroactively and they should not be allowed to be applied that way in the NFL. But at least [Johnson] has a good lawyer [Lorna Propes] and is in good hands."

It may not matter. Even the shrewdest of lawyers would run into the reality that Goodell is only exercising the authority the NFL Players Association granted him under the latest collective-bargaining agreement. The union and a six-player NFL Advisory Committee signed off on it in part to stem the tide of bad publicity.

Tank is already in enough of a PR mess, that going head-to-head with the man who is trying to clean up the sport just doesn't make sense.  Granted if a full year suspension comes down, he might not really have much of an option than to appeal.