NFL reportedly won’t place Von Miller on paid leave unless he’s “formally charged”

When the Bills return from their bye next week against the Chiefs, will they have linebacker Von Miller? That apparently depends on what happens this week.

As explained by Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports, the NFL is not expected to place Miller on paid leave unless he is “formally charged” with assaulting a pregnant person.

That reflects the language of the Personal Conduct Policy, which authorizes placement of a player on the Commissioner-Exempt list “when a player is formally charged with: (1) a felony offense; or (2) a crime of violence, meaning that he is accused of having used physical force . . . to injure or threaten a person.”

The mere nature of the allegation — assault of his pregnant girlfriend — increases the NFL’s urgency to act. If/when Miller is formally charged with such a crime, paid leave is a no-brainer.

The deeper question is whether the league would use either of the other two bases for placing Miller on paid leave. The league can do it “when an investigation leads the Commissioner to believe that a player may have violated this Policy by committing any of the conduct identified above,” and the league can do it “in cases in which a violation relating to a crime of violence is alleged but further investigation is required.”

Complicating this case is the discrepancy between the alleged victim’s original story to police and her apparent effort to recant. While that could help Miller avoid a conviction, the NFL isn’t bound by the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. The league can choose to believe the alleged victim’s original story, and to reject her effort to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

Regardless, it appears that, for now, the NFL will do nothing unless and until Miller is “formally charged.” Given the alleged victim’s attempt to recant her initial claims, Miller might not be.

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