Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters announced Wednesday he was dropping a felony charge against Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones and is suggesting the city of Cincinnati dismiss the three misdemeanor charges as well.
Jones, 33, was arrested Jan. 3 in downtown Cincinnati and charged with assault, disorderly conduct and obstructing official business. The felony charge of harassment with a bodily substance stemmed from him allegedly spitting on a nurse at the county intake.
Deters called the felony a “ticky-tack kind of charge.”
“The statute was written because if we have inmates at high-level security prisons where these bad guys are throwing fecal material and urine at the guards,” Deters said on WLW radio. “In this case, Adam Jones had some chew in his cheek and he spit it out and it hit the nurse’s hand and he was charged for that.”
Whether to pursue the three misdemeanor charges falls under the jurisdiction of the city of Cincinnati, but Deters said if it were his call he also would drop those.
“It’s just drunken foolishness,” he said. “Cincinnati Police probably handle 10 to 25 cases like that every night. If he truly assaulted somebody, which he did not. If he had truly hurt someone, which he did not. That’s a different story. My focus is on violent criminals and Adam Jones was not violent.”
Despite the dismissal of the felony charge, and regardless of the looming decision on the misdemeanor counts, Jones still could face discipline from the Bengals and/or the NFL.
A Bengals spokesman said the team would not be making a statement at this time, but the league has a history of meting out punishment against players who haven’t been convicted of a crime or — in the case of Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who faced sexual assault allegations — even charged.
Jones’ arrest, which featured a damning video of him cursing at the officer driving him to the jail and telling him “I hope you die tomorrow,” could lead to disciplinary action under the league’s personal conduct policy.
In the policy, it’s written that “it is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime. If you are convicted of a crime or subject to a disposition of a criminal proceeding (as defined in this Policy), you are subject to discipline. But even if your conduct does not result in a criminal conviction, if the league finds that you engaged in any of the following conduct, you will be subject to discipline.”
Also working against Jones is the fact that he is a repeat offender , having been suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for the 2007 season for a series of off-field incidents. And he’s had numerous other arrests and run-ins with the law since.
Jones is entering the second season of a three-year, $22 million contract he signed last March following his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2015.
He started all 16 games last year for the first time in his career, but that streak could be in jeopardy with a possible suspension looming.
Deters said he has not spoken with anyone in the league office, but he did receive a report from the center where Jones is undergoing alcohol and anger treatment , and that also factored into his decision to drop the felony charge.
“He’s actively in treatment right now,” Deters said. “The doctor indicated to me that Adam Jones has extended his treatment program beyond what they normally do because he wants to fix himself for the good of his family.”
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