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Steelers MMQB: Should players like Ward and Harrison be punished for “violations” of the personal conduct policy during the lockout?

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As far as I’m concerned, Mendenall having to play in Baltimore on the 10th anniversary of 9-11 after the idiotic comments he made on Twitter following the announcement of Osama Bin Laden’s death is going to be punishment enough.  The fact that his notoriety mostly comes from his costly fumble in the Super Bowl and these comments should be enough to give him the gut-check he needs to realize that the fame of being the running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers carries with it a certain responsibility. And, if he’s not going to live up to it, we’ll be happy to cheer for someone who will.  My gut tells me Goodell isn’t going to punish him, but you never know what that crazy bastard is going to do since he’s a Steeler.

As far as Hines Ward and his “alleged” DUI or “disputed” DUI ( I’m not really sure what term to use since he seems pretty confident his lawyers are going to make it all go away) the NFL, to my recollection has only suspended one player for an incident involving driving while intoxicated.  That would be former Browns WR, Donte Stallworth, whose DUI resulted in the death of a man.  Last season, Jets WR Braylon Edwards, was arrested for DUI during the season and for the next game, dressed, and sat out just the first quarter.  The NFL imposed no fine or punishment against him.  As much as DUI’s are reckless and avoidable, they are not considered severe enough to garner punishment on first time offenses.  Hines will be fine.  If he is suspended or fined by Goodell for a first time offense DUI, he will be the very first.

Now James Harrison is a different topic all together.  His article ran the gambit from calling Goodell a “devil” to taking jabs at his own teammates.  Seeing the players together in training camp, and even pictures of Harrison and Roethlisberger holding hands and skipping out of the locker room can reassure fans that the team harbors no resentment to the comments Harrison made about them.  Goodell might be a different story.  I, for one, agree with most, if not all of what Harrison said about Goodell.  I don’t agree with the gay slur, and I’d really appreciate if professional athletes could take those words out of their vocabulary so douchebag homophobic kids don’t think it’s cool to harass and bully other kids for being gay, with that being said Goodell is a tool.  Harrison has every right to still be angry with the man that fined him repeatedly for hits that were completely legal and most of the times not even flagged during the game.  How is it even going to look if Harrison is fined by Goodell for insulting Goodell? At this point the Steelers organization has stated it won’t punish Harrison and Harrison himself has publicly apologized, calling some of his comments towards Goodell “inappropriate”.   It’s going to look like these two men have a problem with one another and only one of them has the power to take it out on the other one.