DENVER -- I just arrived for Sunday’s game between the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Thus, I just got the statement from the Broncos that the team has punished middle linebacker D.J. Williams for the distraction caused by his arrest early Friday morning in Denver for suspicion of drunk driving. The Broncos came down on Williams – who leads the AFC with 72 tackles – pretty hard. In fact, they couldn’t have punished him any harder.
The Broncos said they levied the heaviest fines possible for conduct detrimental to the club under the terms of the league’s CBA. They also announced he will not start Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, and his status as a team captain has been stripped for the rest of the season.
That’s pretty harsh, but it’s deserved.
The Broncos couldn’t have suspended for Williams for the entire game because of the arrest. Only the league can discipline players for legal issues. The team’s punishment was based on the distraction Williams caused, and for the fact that he missed much of Friday’s work schedule. He was arrested at 2:50 a.m. in downtown Denver.
This was Williams’ second arrest for DUI in five years. He is very likely going to face an NFL suspension.
I applaud Denver for this swift action. It shows players and the community that the team, which is struggling at 2-6, will not put up with players behaving badly. You have to think players in Denver will think twice before committing a similar infraction in the future.
The fact that Denver took away Williams’ captaincy is a big deal. Players cherish that honor. Captains have a big role in the locker rooms, and there’s perks that go along with it. Losing his captaincy has to sting Williams. Denver embarrassed Williams by taking away his captaincy. But he embarrassed the organization by getting arrested, so he is going to have to live with the consequences.