clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL will tread carefully when considering Steelers' RB Le'Veon Bell's appeal to 3-game suspension

Le'Veon Bell is planning on appealing his 3-game suspension to start the 2015 season, but the NFL will tread carefully when considering lessening the suspension.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Most Pittsburgh Steelers fans look at Le'Veon Bell's three-game suspension the same way. They think it will be reduced from three games to two, but don't think it will be a slam dunk for this to take place. Obviously, it was Roger Goodell who handed down this discipline, and even though appeals don't go through Goodell anymore, don't think those who do handle appeals don't ultimately answer to Goodell.

When Bell was arrested for a DUI last August with LeGarrette Blount prior to the team traveling to Philadelphia for a preseason game against the Eagles, fans knew a suspension would be coming. When news broke weeks ago of Blount's one-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy, the logical Steelers fan knew Bell's would be worse.

Bell was driving the vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, and such an arrest as DUI certainly carries a different connotation when it comes to league discipline. Under the new personal conduct policy, along with the league's substance abuse policy, Bell was hit with the double whammy on his suspension. Two games for the DUI and one game for violating the substance abuse policy. Yes, it is that black and white.

Being such a clear cut decision also makes it difficult for an appeal to heard and overruled. People want to compare Bell's situation to others, like Ben Roethlisberger's six-game suspension in 2010 which was reduced to four-games, but Roethlisberger wasn't arrested. Bell's situation is a unique one in the way there aren't any questions surrounding the discipline handed down from the judicial system. Bell had THC in his system from marijuana and was operating a motorized vehicle under the influence. Period. Even in the league's most recent case of Greg Hardy being suspended 10-games. There is much more grey matter in the case in comparison to Bell's.

Bell's suspension could be heard and overturned. I wouldn't be shocked if that happened, but there is also a strong chance the league upholds it's ruling to make a statement to players regarding arrests and the new league susbstance abuse policy.

Simply put, the Steelers and their fan base, would be wise to prepare themselves for Bell to miss the opening game against the New England Patriots, a home game against the San Francisco 49ers and a road game against the St. Louis Rams and not assume he will return after the 49ers game.