Getting lucky in more ways than one
The National Football League chickened out with regard to its punishment of Browns General Manager Ray Farmer Monday.
A four-game suspension, to take place the first four weeks of the regular season, and a $250,000 fine is not even a slap on the wrist. It’s a slap on a fingernail.
Bad boy, bad boy, Ray, for texting the bench during games. Naughty, naughty. You knew better even though you were a rookie GM, but just couldn’t help yourself. We’ll let you off this time. You don’t even have to go to a corner and think about what you did. No, this timeout will cost you just the first four games of the season.
It’s official. The NFL is getting soft.
What the league should have done is hit Farmer – and the Browns – where it hurts. Suspend him immediately and restore his active status five weeks from now or the day after the draft, whichever comes first. That would hurt big-time.
The most important part of Farmer’s job is how – and whom – the club drafts and shaping the roster. The lottery is the lifeline of most NFL teams. Farmer, by virtue of his suspension during the regular season, now has the opportunity to plunge forward with his draft plans.
To deny him the ability to formulate those plans is a much more severe punishment than missing the first four games of the regular season. The Browns are also fortunate they didn’t lose a draft choice. And the bonus is Farmer now is free to do his job.
If it were any other GM caught breaking the NFL’s rules, especially those in the club’s division, Browns fans would have screamed bloody murder.
The club was extremely fortunate this time. But by slapping Farmer's fingernails, the NFL also set a dangerous precedent that will be hard to argue if another general manager tries to do the same thing down the road.