Aqib Talib and the Buccaneers may soon find out his fate, at least with the NFL, as soon as tomorrow according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Talib is facing an aggravated assault with a firearm charge stemming from an incident that took place in Texas earlier this year. According to the ESPN report, Talib is scheduled to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell tomorrow, and a league source said Talib could be in for a “lengthy” suspension.
As part of the ratified collective bargaining agreement, Goodell appears to have retained the right to discipline players for their conduct during the NFL’s 132-day lockout.
Earlier this month Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris sounded hopeful the NFL would let the legal system run its course before any punishment would be handed down regarding his star cornerback.
“I know you have to go through a whole bunch of legal stuff and all that jazz,” Morris said. “I don’t think anything will happen as far as the league. I don’t have any idea what is going on with the front office. I don’t mean our front office, the league office. They don’t usually pass judgment until something happens legally first. They do a great job up there handling those situations. I’m sure they will handle this situation no differently.”
While it is rare for Goodell to hand down suspensions before final legal proceedings are completed, a precedent has already been set.
In 2007, Goodell suspended cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones even while his legal woes were still unresolved. The NFL Players Association appealed the suspension based on the fact the charges were still pending and the union wrote a letter to Goodell stating the suspension "violates clearly established principles of employment and labor law and that no player has ever been disciplined by the commissioner for conduct relating to criminal charges while they are pending."
In 2009, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended six games (reduced to four) for violating the league’s personal conduct policy over sexual assault allegations, even though criminal charges were never brought against the quarterback.
Before the 2010 season, Goodell handed down a one-game suspension, which cost Talib the season opener after he was arrested and charged with assaulting a cab driver on the final night of training camp in 2009.
Talib's trial in Texas is set for March 2012.
PewterReport.com contacted the league office earlier today but a spokesman would not comment at that time.