Oakland Raiders: Adam Jones Won’t Be Suspended for Amari Cooper Incident


A Monday night doubleheader completed the first week of action in the NFL, and of course, it wouldn’t be a week of football without some kind of controversy. As usual, the New England Patriots were involved in more conflict, because it just seems to follow them wherever they go. The headset scandal allowed the Patriots to start this season exactly as they finished last year.

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Sunday’s matchup between the Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals brought about it’s own controversy. The Bengals thrashed the Raiders 33-13, leaving Raiders’ fans with another headache after a spirit raising offseason. But the headache Bengals’ cornerback Adam Jones gave Raiders’ rookie receiver Amari Cooper was probably worse.

In the second quarter, following a huge Raiders’ run that would be negated by penalties, Cooper and Jones tangled deep down the field. Jones and Cooper went down to the ground, with Jones ending up over Cooper. Jones proceeded to force the helmet off Cooper’s head, grab his shoulder pads, and slam Cooper’s head down on to his own helmet.

Somehow, the officials missed this act, despite standing right around where it occurred. The artist formerly known as Pacman was unpenalized, and much to the chagrin of Mike Pereira, the former Vice President of Officiating for the NFL, was not ejected from the game.

On Monday, the NFL announced that Jones would not be suspended, but would review the incident further to determine a suitable fine. If Jones were ejected when the incident occurred, which he should have been, the non-suspension wouldn’t be as big of a deal as it is. But for Jones to get only a monetary punishment for purposely attempting to injure a player after the whistle seems ludicrous.

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Jones made no attempt to deny his actions after the game, as he said “whatever you saw happen, that’s what happened”. Jones’ words solidified his actions, and with no attempt to even fake remorse, a punishment more than a donation to the NFL would just make sense. But as they’ve shown in recent years, the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell don’t really make sense a whole lot.

Jones wasn’t the only player exempt from a suspension on Monday. Notorious serial offender Ndamukong Suh was told he would not be disciplined by the League after apparently kicking Washington Redskins’ running back Alfred Morris‘ helmet off.

Suh’s incident could be deemed accidental, although given his history, no one really knows what’s going through his head. There isn’t that leeway, that room for doubt, regarding Jones and Cooper.

Jones also doesn’t have the on-field history that Suh has. Jones’ infractions have mostly been limited to off-the-field idiocy, and Jones has mostly kept his nose clean since joining the Bengals in 2010. That still doesn’t excuse what he did to Cooper on Sunday.

Who knows, maybe Jones was having flashbacks to his brief stint as a professional wrestler. Professional football can resemble a no holds barred match sometimes, and Jones made a real heel move by attacking his opponent after the bell signaled the end of the match (or that play).

What makes this lack of discipline a little harder to swallow is that, during the offseason, the NFL sent out a memo to teams emphasizing the League’s “harsh stance” on in-game fighting. The memo, sent out by Troy Vincent, the NFL’s vice president of football operations, stated that “fighting will not be tolerated”, and they wanted to “ensure that [the game] is played to the highest standards.” Sure, this wasn’t actually a fight, as only Jones took any action in this incident, but certainly it must fit with the no-nonsense stance the NFL was supposedly taking.

The NFL has been given more black eyes in recent years than a professional boxer two decades into his career. It seems like they can do no right, and just about every decision made is the wrong one. Might as well put this decision in that category.

Next: Raiders Playing with Fire on Smith Signing