Bell: NFL Punishments Inconsistent, Unfair

Jarran Reed has been suspended for six games for violating the league's personal-conduct policy; Tyreek Hill, meanwhile, remains unpunished

July 23, 2019 - 9:04 am
Jarran Reed Seahawks

USA Today Images


The NFL has suspended Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed for six games for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy. Reed was accused of domestic violence in April 2017, but no arrest was made and no charges were filed.

The timing of the punishment is peculiar, especially when compared to Tyreek Hill’s non-punishment.

“Twenty-seven months versus four months,” Tacoma News Tribune Seahawks writer Gregg Bell said on Ferrall on the Bench, referring to the NFL’s length of investigation into each player. “It’s just another part of the seemingly arbitrary punishment under this personal-conduct policy. But I will say this, and it needs to be said: Just because there’s not a charge or arrest doesn’t mean an incident didn’t happen. There are all kinds of problems in our society with domestic-violence reporting and prosecution and the witness not wanting to step forward for a variety of reasons – all of them bad. So there’s nothing very definitive at all, other than he didn’t get jail time for it.”

Still, players and executives are frustrated by the manner in which NFL punishments are meted out.

“A lot of people around the NFL are not happy at all with how seemingly arbitrary this personal-conduct policy gets enforced and hammered down,” Bell said. “On its surface (with Hill), it looks really bad and it looks inconsistent and it looks unfair. There is no consistency. That’s the problems teams have and players have. The players’ association has called this whole system a sham. I know what the NFL is trying to do. They’re trying to punish things that slip through the cracks of the judicial system for whatever reason. It just seems to be so random and arbitrary.”

As for the NFC West, Bell believes the Rams are the favorite – even though Pro Football Focus has the 49ers winning it.

“The Rams still have the most talent in the division,” he said. “It’s still the Rams’ division that the Seahawks have to wrestle from them. The 49ers have some issues on defense. They’ve stacked their defensive line, but they’re counting on Jimmy Garoppolo. This is pretty much last year’s prediction before Garoppolo got hurt. I think the most talent in the division is Rams first, Seahawks second.”

Bell expects the Seahawks to contend for the division title.

“As long as they have Russell Wilson, it’s possible,” he said. “They’ve got to get a pass rush. They do not have a pass rush. It’s a rush-the-passer league. They have the passer and do not have anyone rushing the passer. They are in dire need of getting a pass rush. Last year, Jarran Reed came out of nowhere. He had 10.5 sacks as a defensive tackle. Frank Clark had a career year with 14, and that’s why they made the playoffs. If they can find a pass rush and have some guy emerge like Reed did last year, I think they make the playoffs.”

Click below to listen to Bell’s interview in its entirety.