From 1925-1999, a total of nine NFL players were suspended. NINE! Since 2000, there have been nearly 100, with the majority of them coming during Roger Goodell’s time as commissioner, which started in 2006. On the heels of his latest punishment — a four-game suspension for Tom Brady — let’s look back at some of Goodell’s most memorable punishments.
2006 | Albert Haynesworth | Suspended 5 Games for stomping on Andre Gurode’s head
Goodell had only been commissioner for one month when, on Oct. 1, 2006, Titans lineman Albert Haynesworth stomped on the helmet-less head of Cowboys center Andre Gurode. Haynesworth’s cleat opened a gash on Gurode’s head that required 30 stitches. The five-game punishment was only the second multiple-game suspension for an on-field act in NFL history, and remains the longest suspension ever for an incident occurring during a game.
2007 | Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones | Suspended entire 2007 season for strip club incident
This was Goodell’s first major suspension for a violation of the NFL’s player conduct policy. Titans cornerback Adam Jones was forced to sit out the entire 2007 season after a strip club incident on February 19, 2007 during the NBA All-Star weekend, the details of which are so absurd we’ll let Wiki take it away:
Jones and American rap artist Nelly patronized the club that evening. Nelly, along with someone known as Richard Rich, showered the stage with hundreds of one-dollar bills; an act known as “making it rain.” Jones then joined Nelly by throwing his own money for “visual effect.” Club promoter Chris Mitchell then directed his dancers to collect the money. According to the club’s co-owner, Jones became enraged when a dancer began taking the money without his permission. He allegedly grabbed her by her hair and slammed her head on the stage.
Three people were shot that night, and Jones went on to have a host of other off-the-field issues that led to more suspensions.
2007 | Michael Vick | Suspended entire 2007 and 2008 seasons for dog fighting ring
In what was easily the ugliest off-the-field scandal in NFL history, Michael Vick, who at the time was perhaps the biggest star in the league, was discovered to be financing and running a dog fighting ring based out of Virginia, his home state. Bad Newz Kennels cost Vick 23 months in federal prison, a two-year suspension, and forced him into bankruptcy.
2009 | Donte Stallworth | Suspended entire 2009 season for manslaughter
On the morning of March 14, 2009, Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth was driving his Bentley in Miami when he hit and killed a man who was walking home from work. Stallworth’s blood alcohol level was over the legal limit, but in large part because the man he hit was not in a crosswalk, Stallworth was able to get a plea deal that required only a 30-day sentence in a county jail. Goodell was less lenient, and he handed out a season-long suspension for Stallworth in August of that year.