Steelers Assistant Coach Joey Porter will plead guilty to a disorderly conduct charge today. He was originally charged with much more serious crimes, one of which was a felony charge for aggravated assault. The citation Porter is pleading to carries up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine for a finding of guilty. It seems unlikely, on the surface at least, that Porter will do any jail time. However, he does still face league, and the potential for team, discipline once his case has been resolved in the courts.
The NFL hasn’t been kind to coaches that were involved in embarrassing incidents tied to alcohol. In 2006, when they rarely disciplined players who were convicted of alcohol related charges, the league suspended Joe Cullen for two alcohol related incidents. One of those was a trip through a Wendy’s drive thru while drunk and naked. While a lot of people, myself and Jon Kitna included, found that incident hilarious, the league did not. They suspended Cullen one game and fined him $20,000. This was clear back in 2006, well before Roger Goodell’s war on fun, or as some people refer to it, the NFL Personal Conduct Policy, was implemented in 2011.
That same year, Andy Moeller, who was the Baltimore Ravens’ (*coughs, whispers* “Ratbirds”), offensive line coach was suspended two games and fined $47,000 for a DUI offense. Four years later, Moeller, a Cleveland Browns coach at that point, was again charged with an alcohol related crime when he allegedly attacked a female guest in his own home, while intoxicated. The Browns, presumably with league approval, immediately suspended Moeller indefinitely. 22 days later, the Browns and Moeller “mutually agreed to part ways“. In other words, he was fired.
Given that the league would have us believe that coaches are held to a higher standard than players, Porter can expect to be disciplined by the league.
Porter hasn’t been involved in an incident as serious as the one this year on the South Side before. He was, however, in the news when his dogs got out and killed a miniature horse belonging to a neighbor, when he was outed by a casino for not honoring a marker they gave him when his $70,000 check bounced and, prior to that, in another incident where the members of his entourage got into a physical altercation with Levi Jones after he and Porter exchanged words on a casino floor.
In Pittsburgh, Porter once went out to the Ravens team bus after a game and challenged Ray Lewis to get off the bus and fight. He was also seemingly involved in an embarrassing incident this past October at a North Catholic High School Football game where he allegedly walked onto the field to challenge the officiating crew and would not walk off the field until North Catholic was threatened with a forfeit. It really seems as though Joey needs to learn when it might be a good idea to turn off his on field persona and that maybe he just doesn’t know how to.
Combined with what has been less than solid play from his outside linebacking unit, you have to wonder if Porter will remain employed by the Steelers much longer anyway. Most fans would hate to see it, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see him let go.
Photo Credit: KDKA Pittsburgh