Thursday, August 21, 2008
Barnett to lose one week's pay but will play in Packers' opener
ESPN.com news services
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- After appealing a one-game suspension for his involvement in an off-the-field altercation last year, linebacker Nick Barnett will be fined a week's pay but is allowed to play in the Green Bay Packers' Sept. 8 season opener.
Barnett has talked himself into the idea that playing for free is better than not playing at all.
"I believe so," Barnett said. "I was talking to myself [Tuesday] and thinking about the steep fine and how much it was, but the league has to do what it has to do in order to keep the NFL in the right direction. It sounds steep, and me personally, I don't have anything on my record anymore, but it's the personal conduct [policy] and you have to abide by it."
Barnett will lose $155,882 of his $2.65 million salary this season.
Barnett was arrested last June outside an Appleton, Wis., bar after a woman accused him of pushing her during an argument. He was charged with two misdemeanors, but reached a plea bargain in March that required him to remain on good behavior and pay a fine.
Barnett said he was surprised by the league's original decision to suspend him, given the fact that players suspended by the league were involved in more serious crimes.
"Most of the actions were fights, broken jaws, stuff like that," Barnett said. "Mine was kind of just disorderly conduct. Which it was. I guess that falls under the personal conduct. That fight's over. There's no winning that battle. I go with the rules they set. Now I get to play Monday night. Pockets are a little lighter, but I still get to play."
Barnett's appeal wasn't heard directly by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, but Barnett did speak briefly with Goodell beforehand. Naturally, they talked about Brett Favre, with the three-time MVP's standoff with the Packers still simmering at the time.
But Barnett isn't looking to visit the league offices again anytime soon.
"It was definitely an experience that I don't want to experience again," Barnett said. "I'd rather go on a more positive note. I'll tell you that."
Barnett's attorney was disappointed with the amount of the linebacker's fine.
"It was troublesome that the fine was so substantial," attorney Avi Berk told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "But that's the way the league assesses things. I was surprised initially that they wanted to suspend Nick for such a minor offense. I'm still surprised at the substantial fine, but I'm pleased the suspension was lifted."
Barnett offered advice to teammate Johnny Jolly, who could face a league suspension after being charged with felony drug possession for allegedly being caught with at least 200 grams of codeine in July.
Barnett's message: Talk to the league before agreeing to a plea bargain.
"I would've fought in court that whole situation," Barnett said. "I was just trying to get away from it and move on and play football. It still ended with the same result, I didn't get any charges or anything like that. But if I would have fought it, and it came back not guilty, I'm sure it would've been a different disciplinary action [from the NFL]."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.