Judge for yourself, NFL

JUDGE EDWARD NEWMAN is as tough on the bench as he was on the field as a Pro Bowl lineman during his 12 seasons with the Miami Dolphins.

Today, he sits in his Miami-Dade courtroom handing out sentences every bit as hard-hitting as the blocks he used to make on NFL opponents.

When asked if he thinks players such as Donté Stallworth and Michael Vick should be punished, and or suspended from the NFL, after they have served their time in jail, Newman doesn't flinch.

"I've heard people raising that issue," Newman, 51, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "The commissioner should jump on these guys with both feet. Say there's a dad somewhere and his youngster is charged with criminal mischief, graffiti or something.

"The court makes its decision. Is that the end of it? I say, 'Hell, no.' The kid has Round 2 to deal with. Dad's waiting for him at home. You want to be a NFL player? There's the corollary to that. It's a social contract. You have to behave. Be a model citizen. A role model. If you're not, the commissioner is waiting. I have no problem with him being a super-policeman."

Vick, as everyone knows, is a former quarterback with the Atlanta Falcons who spent time in jail for his connection with a dog-fighting ring. And, Stallworth, a wide receiver with the Cleveland Browns - who played with the Eagles in 2006 - was recently sentenced to 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to killing a pedestrian while driving drunk.

They've already been punished by the legal system. Should they be sacked by the NFL, too?

Depending on the circumstances, Newman has no problem with the league getting involved.

"Regular people who go to jail lose their job," he said. "Drunk drivers lose their jobs. People with suspended licenses might lose their jobs.

"So when you see athletes killing dogs or drinking and driving or beating up wives, it can never be acceptable. And they sometimes lose their jobs, too." *

- Tom Mahon

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