Kansas City Suspends RB Johnson for Gay Slurs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Running back Larry Johnson, who made two gay slurs within a 24-hour period and has a history of poor behavior both on and off the field, was given what amounts to a one-game suspension Wednesday night by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Missing one game check will cost the troubled former Pro Bowler about $213,000.

In a three-sentence release, the Chiefs said Johnson would be suspended until Monday, Nov. 9. The team is on its bye week and will not play again until traveling to Jacksonville on Nov. 8.

The Chiefs had been saying for three days that they were "investigating" the situation. Johnson was told to stay away from the team on Tuesday.

In 2007, Johnson signed a five-year contract extension that guaranteed him about $19 million and could be worth as much as $45 million. But because of these latest problems, his future with the Chiefs beyond Nov. 8 may still be cloudy.

Coach Todd Haley and first-year general manager Scott Pioli have repeatedly said they are trying to build a new culture and a new attitude for a struggling franchise which has sunk to the bottom of the NFL and that disloyalty will not be tolerated.

A two-time Pro Bowler who needs just 75 yards rushing to break the team's career record, Johnson first used the gay slur on his Twitter account in an exchange with one of his followers on Sunday night. Earlier he had posted comments calling Haley's qualifications into question.

Then in a whispered remark on Monday after telling reporters in the locker room he was not talking, Johnson repeated the slur, according to the Kansas City Star which has posted audio of the alleged comment.

The three-sentence news release issued Wednesday night said only that Johnson, who turns 30 in a few weeks, was suspended for conduct detrimental to the club. The Chiefs said they would have no further comment on Johnson's status "at this time."

Johnson wrote the objectionable material on his Twitter account several hours after the Chiefs (1-6) lost 37-7 to San Diego, one of their most lopsided home losses ever.

Johnson issued an apology on Tuesday, almost exactly 12 months after apologizing to the team and its fans and ownership for two incidents in Kansas City nightspots that led to his pleading guilty to disturbing the peace.

Those problems caused him to be benched for three games in 2008 and suspended by commissioner Roger Goodell for an additional game.

In addition, Johnson has incurred the wrath of fans and coaches for such things as drawing penalties by hurling his helmet onto the turf during games to protest poor blocking.

Haley, while refusing to comment on Johnson specifically, has been saying that the Chiefs took the public conduct of players very seriously.

Johnson was one of the best running backs in the NFL in 2005 and '06, running for more than 1,700 yards each season and earning Pro Bowl honors. But this season, like the Chiefs, he has struggled. The blocking has not been good and Johnson does not appear to possess the speed and power that made him so effective three years ago. In 132 carries, he has rushed for 358 yards, 2.7 yards per carry.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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