The Saints eventually may not have receiver Deonte Harris for multiple games.
According to NFL Media, Harris has appealed a three-game suspension arising from a DUI arrest from July in Baltimore. He recently resolved the case by accepting one year of probation while also maintaining his position that he is not guilty.
The league apparently doesn’t see it that way, imposing the minimum penalty for a DUI offense under the substance-abuse policy. (Last year, the baseline punishment went from two games to three for a first offense.)
From the policy: “The Commissioner will review and may impose a fine, suspension, or other appropriate discipline if a Player is convicted of or admits to a violation of the law (including within the context of a diversionary program, deferred adjudication, disposition of supervision, or similar arrangement including but not limited to nolo contendere) relating to the use of alcohol. Absent aggravating circumstances, discipline for a first offense will be a suspension without pay for three (3) regular or postseason games.”
This language will allow the league to argue that maintaining innocence doesn’t matter. Any legal responsibility arising from the incident opens the door for three-game suspension; to avoid the suspension, the player’s only option is to hope for a full dismissal or to take the case to trial and win.
Harris will surely argue otherwise, hopeful to get the suspension reduced or dismissed. At a minimum, the language in the policy is confusing. Why mention the possibility of a fine is the punishment for a first offense relating to the use of alcohol is a firm three-game suspension?