Earlier in the week I wrote about the wild night that Pittsburgh Steelers rookie defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu had on his way to damaging multiple cars, running shirtless from the cops, and 15 total charges. This week Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin announced that Ta’amu was going to be suspended for two weeks without pay for his actions over the weekend.
Per Brian McIntyre with Yahoo, Tomlin was quoted as saying:
“Due to his actions this past weekend we are going to be suspending him for two weeks,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. “This suspension is without pay. He will not participate in any organized team activities, he won’t be in meetings, he won’t be on the practice field and obviously he won’t be at our facility.”
When I first read this, I had to wonder what was the rationale for such a mild punishment for what appears to be a pretty heinous act. I honestly assumed that the next announcement we heard from Tomlin would be that Ta’amu was released. Historically, the Steelers and their ownership have had a zero tolerance policy as it pertains off field and character issues. In many cases the Steelers have passed on talented college athletes in the NFL draft not because of lack of ability, but for concerns that they do not portray the image the Steelers have established over the years.
So, I ask again, why just 2 games? After much consideration, I would call this a shot across the bow so to speak. The Steelers were in the midst of damage control mode, even before the incident with Ta’amu. The team is riddled with injuries, and staring up at most of the AFC in the standings. Making a huge media scene of this issue would just draw more negative attention to the franchise and they don’t need that. I believe that the goal is to get through the next 2 weeks with Ta’amu out of the limelight, try and right the ship on the field, and then drop the hammer on him.
You can be assured that the league will as well, so in hindsight I suppose the Steelers didn’t need to make any rash choices. But make no mistake, this isn’t the end for Ta’amu. Less than a week ago, the Steelers released tight end Weslye Saunders after he served a 4 game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. If there is any consistency in this at all, whether it’s in 2 weeks or beyond, I suspect that Ta’amu’s days in the Black and Gold are still numbered.
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