With court date looming, NFL continues to monitor Alvin Kamara case
Saints running back Alvin Kamara faces felony battery charges arising from an incident occurring during the weekend of the Pro Bowl. The situation was bad enough to get the NFL to make a quick change to one of the displays at the NFL Experience during Super Bowl week, with Kamara erased and teammate Cam Jordan becoming the replacement.
As PFT has reported, Kamara is bracing for a six-game suspension, along with a civil lawsuit.
Kamara’s case returns to court on August 1. Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reports that the situation remains under review.
The problem for the league is that it typically prefers not to act while criminal charges are pending. The criminal charges against Kamara, barring a plea deal, could be pending for a while.
The question becomes whether the league office would put Kamara on paid leave pending the resolution of the case. Consider the following language for the Personal Conduct Policy, regarding one of the circumstances justifying placement of a player on the Commissioner-Exempt list.
“First, when a player is formally charged with: (1) a felony offense; or (2) a crime of violence, meaning that he is accused of having used physical force or a weapon to injure or threaten a person or animal, of having engaged in a sexual assault by force or against a person who was incapable of giving consent, or having engaged in other conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety or well-being of another person.”
Because the league typically waits to act until it has to do so, it’s unclear whether paid leave is on the table. Based on the plain terms of the policy, it could be.
The situation places extra pressure on Kamara to resolve the situation, perhaps by pleading guilty. If the case lingers, and if paid leave happens, Kamara could (in theory) miss all or most of the season.
The league ultimately has to ask itself whether the pending charges against Kamara would be a major distraction, if he’s allowed to play while the case proceeds. The alleged victim is a grown man, not a woman or a child. The NFL may feel less concerned about letting Kamara play, under these circumstances.
Regardless, some big decisions need to be made -- sooner or later. And maybe sooner.