Justin Blackmon, the top wide receiver taken in this year’s NFL draft, was arrested earlier today in Oklahoma and charged with Aggravated DUI. This is Blackmon’s second DUI arrest since 2010.
According to reports, Blackmon was stopped for speeding 60 in a 35 mph zone at 3:00 in the morning. He allegedly had slurred speech, bloodshot and glassy eyes and had difficulty walking. He is said to have agreed to a breath test, with a result of 0.24, three times the “legal limit.”
Blackmon, who was selected with the fifth overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, was released on bond, but is due to appear in court Monday. He has yet to agree to terms with the Jaguars and it is unknown whether the arrest will affect his contract negotiations or result in a suspension from the league.
Update: from profootballtalk.com:
Blackmon is subject to discipline under the substance-abuse policy. (The fact that he has yet to sign a contract won’t protect him; the moment he was drafted, Blackmon became subject to all league policies.) Under the policy, any disposition reflecting responsibility of any kind for the alleged crime exposes Blackmon to “a fine, suspension, or other appropriate discipline.”
The policy states that, “[a]bsent aggravating circumstances, discipline for a first offense will generally be a fine of two-seventeenths (2/17)” of his base salary, up to a maximum of $50,000. The problem for Blackmon is the phrase “aggravating circumstances,” which are defined by the policy as “including but not limited to felonious conduct or serious injury or death of third parties, and/or if the player has had prior drug or alcohol-related misconduct.” If there are “aggravating circumstances, “increased discipline up to and including suspension may be imposed.”
Blackmon has “prior . . . alcohol-related misconduct,” thanks to a DUI incident in college that resulted in a fine. Though the league apparently has abandoned the practice of disciplining players for pre-NFL behavior that results in a judicial resolution after the player’s NFL career has begun, the league wouldn’t be punishing Blackmon for his past DUI. Instead, the NFL would be taking his history into account when meting out discipline for the more recent incident.
And since the appeal of the league’s punishment of Blackmon will be handled by the league, the league ultimately will be able to do whatever it wants to do.
So if the league chooses to suspend discipline, the league can do it.