NFL reviewing Everson Griffen situation; USC bans players from trip
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Everson Griffen is taking the party to Las Vegas, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell surely is watching closely.
Griffen was arrested twice in a little more than two days this past week in Los Angeles. But the Minnesota Vikings' 23-year-old end apparently was undaunted, joking about the situation on his Facebook page while advertising a Super Bowl weekend trip to Vegas that drew the ire of his alma mater.
"Hello (Facebook) friends, this your guy that went to jail twices (sic) in 72 hours," Griffen wrote on the page for his Vegas Trip Superbowl (sic) Weekend.
"However, I'm a free man. On saturday I got out in 8 hours and also Monday. That's besides the point I want to take you on a vacation of your life time.
"Here is the plan you pay me 100 bucks for room, breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the suites. Buses will be leaving Friday,1st bus leaves @ noon,2nd bus @ 5pm and last bus leaves @ 9pm .full bar on each bus ......you miss the bus, no vegas."
One set of buses was to leave from scheduled to leave from his hometown of Avondale, Ariz. The other was to depart from Los Angeles, where Griffen was arrested early Saturday morning for suspicion of public intoxication and on Monday afternoon for felony battery after allegedly fleeing police who had stopped him for a traffic violation.
Griffen was released early Tuesday morning after posting $50,000 bail, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office determined there was insufficient evidence to charge him with a felony. However, he still faces potential misdemeanor charges, and the NFL has acknowledged it is monitoring the situation.
"It is under review," league spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail on Friday afternoon. "We have no further comment at this point."
In general, the league has been reluctant to punish first offenders absent a criminal conviction. However, Goodell has far-reaching power under the personal-conduct policy to punish anyone whose actions reflected poorly on themselves, their team and the league.
The Vegas trip only reenforces the idea that Griffen -- a first-round talent who fell to the fourth last April because of character concerns that had at least one team taking him off its draft board altogether -- is unremorseful for, at minimum, placing himself in multiple negative situations.
Meanwhile, the University of Southern California banned its football players from attending their former teammate's trip out of concern for potential NCAA violations. School administrators feared in part that the trip was partly funded by the agency First Round Entertainment and his former USC teammate, Jordan Campbell.
Griffen denied that allegation in carefully worded post on the same Facebook page, saying that "there will be no discounts given to any participants, regardless of their status as student-athletes or otherwise."
Reached by 1500ESPN.com's Dana Wessel on Friday morning, Griffen hung up immediately when told he was speaking to a reporter.
The entire situation has to make the Vikings uneasy, considering they think highly of Griffen's talent and need help at left end, with starter Ray Edwards and backup Brian Robison potentially headed for free agency.
The Vikings did extra work on Griffen's background before drafting him with the 100th overall pick in April. Three scouts made campus visits, in addition to the one-on-one conversations Griffen had with vice president of football operations Rick Spielman and defensive coach Karl Dunbar.
Signed to a four-year contract that included a $540,000 signing bonus, $75,000 of which was deferred until March 15 of this year, Griffen was inactive for the first five games of his rookie season before carving out a role on special teams.
The 6-foot-3, 273-pound pass rusher finished with eight tackles (six solo) on coverage units, plus another seven tackles (five solo) and four quarterback pressures in 64 snaps on defense.