Steelers Discipline Santonio Holmes – Wide Receiver to Sit Against New York

Faced with the most serious discipline crisis of his tenure as head coach, as Santonio Holmes was caught with misdemeanor marijuana possession on Thursday, Mike Tomlin acted quickly to discipline his errant wide receiver.

The Post-Gazette reported that Holmes was stopped by police in Hill District because his SUV had similar characteristics to one they believed to be carrying a large amount of narcotics. The officer stopping Holmes smelled marijuana, and asked Holmes if he had been smoking marijuana. Holmes admitted that he had done so the day before, and confessed to having a small amount of the drug in his possession.

  • Holmes was not arrested, and will be charged with a court summons.

This is not the first time a Steeler has found his way onto the police blotter during Tomlin’s time, as Najeh Davenport, James Harrison, and Cedric Wilson were all involved in domestic disputes during the past year. (Davenport was acquitted by a jury, Harrison saw the charges dropped against him, and Wilson was released from the team.)

But this incident comes on the heels of the Steelers biggest regular season match up, less than 72 hours before the reigning Super Bowl Champion New York Giants are sent to arrive at Heinz Field.

Tomlin Moves with a Firm Hand on Holmes

The importance of this match up cannot be understated. The New York Giants are 5-1, and although their play has not been flawless, they’ve played well enough to demonstrate that they are capable of making a repeat run at the Super Bowl.

While the Steelers are also 5-1, they’ve only played two teams that figure to have a serious shot at playing multiple games in January. Holmes importance to the team cannot be overstated. He has caught 22 passes this year, and while he only has one touchdown, his 16.4 yards per catch average shows just how much of a deep threat he is.

Given the urgency of the Giant’s game up, Tomlin deserves praise for taking a resolute stand. Not only did Holmes not practice today, not only will he not play against the Giants, but he has been banned from showing his face at Heinz Field on Sunday.

Afterpractice Mike Tomlin minced no words:

His situation has created somewhat of a distraction. We want to minimize that as much as we can and remain focused on the task at hand which is to compete and play against the New York Giants on Sunday…. I notified him of that and told him I would see him on Monday morning…. This is how I choose to address it and deal with it at this time. My approach and mentality in regards to the situation might be different next week. Right now I don’t have the time or patience to delve into it….

Strong, But Strong Enough?

Tomlin wasted no time in declaring Holmes inactive for the game against the Giants, and in doing so he delivered a strong message his players, but the question is, was it strong enough?

There is no mistaking Tomlin’s tone, but he stopped short of suspending Santonio Holmes.* Benching a player and banishing him from team facilities on the eve of a big game makes a clear statement, and will get the attention of the other players in the locker room.

But a suspension would have added some real sting and sent an unequivocal signal to the rest of the team.

*Yesterday, both the press reports and the Steelers website were on record as saying that Holmes had not been suspended. However, today the Post-Gazette is reporting that “He [Mike Tomlin] declined to say if Mr. Holmes had been suspended by the team or docked a game’s pay.”

Click here for Steel Curtain Rising’s speculation on how this latest incident could affect Santonio’s future with the Steelers.

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6 thoughts on “Steelers Discipline Santonio Holmes – Wide Receiver to Sit Against New York

  1. Agreed. The Giants are a VERY tough team, and we’re already going into the game without Aaron Smith and Fast Willie.

    Why these professional athlete cannot exercise more common sense is baffeling.

  2. Cheers to Tomlin for acting swiftly and decisively. This is yet another incident of moral bankruptcy and immature behavior that dilutes the validity of professional sports. The league needs to choose whether it wants to be perceived as a babysitter to self-centered, hedonistic children, or be mature mentors to talented athletes who want to participate in an organization respected for its values and integrity.

    Take the high road, Mr. Goodell, instead of kowtowing to team owners who value championship hardware rather than building character in young men.

  3. Fletch, your attitude is admirable. Taglibue dealt with issue like these only in as far as they affected PR.

    Goodell is taking a much harder line, and that is good. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Thank you for your kind words, KT.

    It just frosts me no end to see our standards being lowered (in every venue)to the point where we acquiesce to the greed of the owners, media and all equity interests. Our youth need role models with good character.

    Oh well. It was tough to watch the Steelers in the second half reverting back to the scrambling they did in Philly. I think we’ll be lucky to end up 10-6 this year.

  5. Fletch I generally agree with your point, but I take a slightly different tack.

    These athletes are so insulated. I remember a survey released almost ten years ago detailing that most NFL rookie draft picks didn’t even know that they would have to pay taxes — why? Because they’d never even had to have as much as a summer job.

    (The same article pointed out that someone, I don’t remember who it was, was at the White House and honsetly asked to “speak to the FCIA person, because man, he’s taking too much out of my salary….” Gee, must be rough.

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