UPDATE: Johnson has been fired.
Running back Larry Johnson was not in uniform Sunday for the Kansas City Chiefs 24-21 loss to Jacksonville. Johnson returns to the team roster today after a two week suspension and $315,000 penalty for publicly making three homophobic slurs in a 24-hour period. But the NFL suggested the Chiefs not suspend Johnson and fine him only $10,000, reports Nancy Gay at AOL Fanhouse.
That was the punishment doled out by the NFL to then-Steelers linebacker Joey Porter in December 2006, when he twice called Browns tight end Kellen Winslow a "f**" following a Pittsburgh victory over Cleveland. At the time, an NFL spokesman said Porter was fined for "his vulgar and inexcusable statements." Porter apologized, saying he didn't mean to offend anyone "except Winslow." So we can see how effective that monetary punishment was as a teachable moment.
But Porter's $10,000 fine came before the NFL officially issued its now famous get-tough Personal Conduct Policy in 2008, a set of guidelines so strict and so broad in interpretation that it has given commissioner Roger Goodell great latitude to throw the book at numerous high-profile players. The NFL Personal Conduct Policy is all of four pages long, and includes this very sweeping admonition to all NFL players, coaches and employees of what it considers a violation: "Conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity and reputation of the NFL, NFL clubs, or NFL players."
Johnson went beyond Porter's on-the-field behavior. The Kansas City former Pro Bowler used the words "fag", "faggot" and "Christopher Street boy"—showing some knowledge of gay culture—to mock fans in a Twitter meltdown. After hurling the F-bomb at reporters. Johnson’s agent ridiculously tried to claim that his client had no idea "faggot" was an offensive phrase.
Since being drafted by the Chiefs in 2003, Johnson has been arrested at least four times for violent episodes against women, including beating an ex-girlfriend and spitting in the face of a woman at a Kansas City nightclub. Many Kansas City Chiefs fans have had enough of Johnson's off-the-field temper. More than 10,000 fans have signed a petition to plead with the Chiefs from allowing Johnson to set Kansas City's all-time rushing record. Apparently the Chiefs agreed with the fans and decided to cut Johnson.
So far, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL have been strangely silent on the Johnson fiasco, which Oustports describes as "disturbing."
Chiefs Fans Circulate Petition to Oust Johnson
Chiefs Suspend Larry Johnson for 2 Weeks Over Gay Slurs
RB Larry Johnson Says "Faggot" to Critics and Reporters
Bennett Fined for Profanity-Laced, Homophobic Rap