Possible Alvin Kamara Suspension Could Reach Eight Games and If Convicted, Prison Time Could Sideline Him The Following Season

NFL: New Orleans Saints Minicamp
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

On the heels of reports that Alvin Kamara is likely facing a six-game suspension for his alleged involvement in a brawl outside a nightclub, I’d caution: not so fast. A close examination of the NFL Discipline Policy outlines the minimum six-game suspension for allegations of assault and/or battery, whether or not a person is charged or even convicted. However, if aggravating factors are present, the policy says the suspension can be increased.

In Kamara’s case, police say there is video, showing Kamara allegedly punching someone, up to eight times. Under the NFL Discipline Policy, repeatedly striking a person is specifically listed as an aggravating factor. Eight times, if true, is consequential, especially since it allegedly resulted in the victim’s hospitalization and a broken bone.

Repeated striking could also undermine a self-defense claim by Kamara, which would be one of his only plausible defenses in court. When asserting self-defense, the force used must be proportional to the force incurred and only used for as long as the threat remains. Having a person down on the ground, repeatedly punching them, when they no longer pose a threat and having other people join you and allegedly stomp on the person, would likely not pass muster on the defense side (if true).

Kamara was arrested and charged with a felony for allegedly causing substantial bodily harm. Since there is video, much like in the Ray Rice altercation, it would make sense for the NFL to dole out a punishment and not wait for any type of outside criminal investigation or trial to conclude.

Eight games seems more likely than six, due to the aggravating factors of allegedly repeatedly striking the victim. “Similar conduct prior to entering the NFL,” is also listed as an aggravating factor that could increase the suspension. Kamara was reportedly arrested during his college days at Alabama and charged with petty crimes but none were similar to the nightclub incident so they likely would not factor in.

However, even if Kamara faces eight or even six games next season and returns for the second half of the season, he could find himself sidelined the following year. The serious charges he faces could carry 1-15 years in prison, depending on the circumstances and whether a dangerous weapon was used.

Sometimes, NFL players, can be deemed dangerous weapons in and of themselves. With a lack of a major criminal history he may get a break on prison time, but if convicted, prison time could definitely be on the table because the fight went down in Las Vegas. The state is tough on crime, especially violence at its revenue producing and lucrative nightclubs, which attract visitors from all over the world. Vegas certainly took a hardline approach with former NFL player OJ Simpson and former Raiders star Henry Ruggs III is now facing the tough criminal justice system.

Prosecutors in Vegas are less likely than other places around the country to offer plea deals or “get out of jail free cards.” Especially with video available, showing the alleged violence, prosecutors would not be motivated to offer a deal, as it would be an easier case to prove. If Kamara is convicted and faces jail time, expect him to be out at least half an additional season, maybe more, unless his attorneys can arrange for him to serve the time during this season, while suspended.

If he does get a plea deal, it’s even more likely he could serve jail time. The deal would likely involve a reduction in charges in exchange for him agreeing to serve some jail time, rather than trying the case. This way, prosecutors don’t look like they are just letting him off the hook. Expect his attorneys to be pushing for a plea, and if he has to serve time, to push for it to be during this season or the off season. But keep in mind the criminal justice system can be slow and if so, he could face six to eight games next season and be out the following season as well.

In the meantime, Kamara is considered innocent until proven guilty.