OVERLAND PARK -- The NFL wants to send a message that it takes domestic violence seriously. Its policy states that "any conduct detrimental to the integrity or public confidence in the game of professional football" is worthy of disciplinary action. But the way in which that system is applied is often inconsistent and confusing. The latest example came this week when the NFL suspended Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay for four games after he was arrested in January for misdemeanor property damage related to an argument with his ex-girlfriend in which a vacuum cleaner and other items were broken.
Gay, the team's starting left LB, will be out for Sunday's game against the Colts as well as future contests against Tampa Bay, Oakland and Buffalo. He will also be ineligible to practice or attend team meetings during the first two weeks of his suspension.
The third-year defender has started the Chiefs' first two games and is tied for second on the team in tackles with 16. He is also tied for the lead in pass deflections.
Gay's teammates spoke highly of him after last fall when he opened up about his mental health struggles and the premature birth of his son. On Wednesday, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said his team had some advance notice that a suspension might be coming. He added the team will be prepared without Gay, who will be replaced this week by second-year LB Darius Harris.