So far no suspensions have been handed out to Pittsburgh Steelers running backs Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount for their arrests involving marijuana possession and, in Bell’s case, driving under the influence on Wednesday. However, according to Sports Illustrated, the pair have apologized for their behavior.
Blount told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he was “sorry for the distraction that I caused my team.” He added, “I just want to apologize to my team and my coach and my organization for causing that distraction.” Bell, who started in Thursday night’s preseason game and carried the ball nine times for 23 yards, also apologized, according to the Gazette: “I’m sorry to be a distraction to the team… I’m only going to answer football questions right now.” Blount had a bit more productive night than his partner in alleged crime by rushing seven times for 32 yards.
Sports Illustrated reported that the two running backs were taken into custody after Township Police in Pittsburgh smelled marijuana wafting from a black Camaro (use a Terrible Towel to keep in the fumes next time) that Le’Veon Bell was driving and Blount and an unidentified female were passengers. Twenty grams of marijuana were found on Blount and Bell, and, according to police, they were “cooperative.” Both were charged with possession of marijuana and Bell was also charged with a DUI.
The Steelers are delaying disciplinary measures until the legal matter is resolved. The team could be subjected to a grievance from the NFL Players Association if they issue a suspension now and then have to impose another one later. Moreover, Coach Mike Tomlin said he “didn’t consider it a punishment to send them home. I’d rather have them play more.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has suspended players for off-field incidents even when they lacked a guilty verdict in court. The man handing the ball off to Blount and Bell comes to mind. But the league has also instituted a more tolerant policy toward marijuana offenders. Blount and Bell await verdicts–in court and in the league office.