Denver Broncos safety T.J. Ward feels that the NFL is unfairly punishing him with the Week 1 suspension he was served on Thursday.
“I feel it's really unfair,” Ward said. “I'm getting punished for being accused of doing something, not for doing something but being accused, and I've got to pay the consequences for it. And I just don't feel the whole process is very fair.”
After signing his four-year, $22.5 million deal with the Broncos, Ward was charged with misdemeanor assault and disturbing the peace for an incident at a Denver strip club in May 2014 that was reportedly recorded on a surveillance video. The charges were eventually dropped after Ward agreed to complete four hours of community service.
“I was very shocked when I first heard there may be a suspension because the incident happened a year ago,” Ward said. “I've played a full season and now it's the following.”
When asked why be believes he was suspended, Ward replied, “My last name's not Brady.” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had his four-game suspension overturned on Thursday, though the reasons for Brady's original suspension had little in common with Ward's offense.
The Broncos issued the following statement on Ward's behalf after the suspension was announced:
“I take full responsibility for the incident that occurred in May 2014 and am willing to accept the consequences of my actions by serving my one game suspension,” Ward said. “Although I was never arrested and all charges against me were ultimately dismissed, I have no one to blame but myself for being in the predicament that evening. To the Denver Broncos organization, the Bowlen family and to the Denver Bronco fans, I want to apologize for my conduct. I have learned from my mistakes and will continue to be a pillar in the community to make myself a stronger person and player for the Denver Broncos.”
- Erin Flynn