Jerome Simpson, wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings, has been suspended for three games following a November, 2013 arrest for driving while intoxicated. Simpson initially appealed the suspension, but the appeal was denied. He will be suspended without pay for the first three games of the season, and will be able to rejoin the squad for their September 28 game against the Atlanta Falcons. This is his second suspension.
Simpson pleaded guilty to careless driving and refusal to submit to chemical analysis. Though his attorney says that Simpson would have passed a blood test if he had taken one, the point is moot. He also stated that the penalties should be lowered because the two charges that Simpson pleaded guilty to were misdemeanors, and not the more serious charge of driving while intoxicated. The league bases its punishment in part on the test, and because Simpson was already on probation from his previous arrest, he was suspended. In 2011, while playing for the Cincinnati Bengals, Simpson put over two pounds of marijuana in the mail and sent the package to his house in Kentucky. When police investigated, they found another six pounds in the house, along with other pieces of marijuana paraphernalia. In April of 2012, Simpson was sentenced to 15 days in jail and then had to serve three years probation, which he was still under when he was arrested in November. When the Vikings initially signed Simpson as a free agent, he missed the first three games of the 2012 season due to a suspension leading from the marijuana arrest.
When the Vikings signed Simpson, they knew he would be missing those three games. Though the Vikings have never offered him a long-term contract, he has been given three one year contracts in a row, and has performed strongly at wide receiver for the team. Last year was his best season yet, catching 48 passes and having over 700 rushing yards. Though a season high for Simpson, he was still not the Vikings best receiver. That would be Percy Harvin, who the Vikings traded to the Seattle Seahawks.
Simpson’s suspension comes at the tail end of a troubling off season for the NFL. The league’s conduct policy has been under review recently in regards to the two game suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice after his domestic abuse charge. Fans and domestic abuse advocates saw that suspension as too lenient, and called for a tougher conduct policy. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responded this week with a new player conduct policy concerning domestic abuse and sexual assault, which called for tougher penalties concerning those matters. Though Goodell took another look at that part of the league’s policy, he did not address the NFL’s standings concerning drugs and alcohol, which is why Simpson’s appeal was denied.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver has been suspended for three games following a November 2013 DWI arrest. This is Simpson’s second time being suspended, and it is coming off a record season for him. Simpson has no guaranteed money coming from the Vikings, who could cut him without any financial repercussions.
By Bryan Levy