A star player in the National Football League is facing some potentially serious legal trouble while he and his team prepare for the conference championship round of the playoffs in just a matter of days.
Charles Omenihu, a defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, was arrested and charged in a domestic violence incident on Monday, the Washington Examiner reported.
As of now, however, it doesn’t appear that the arrest will impact his ability to participate in his team’s matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, the winner of which will move on to play in the championship Super Bowl next month.
Alleged misdemeanor domestic violence
According to a press release Tuesday from the San Jose Police Department, officers responded to a reported domestic violence incident and met an unnamed woman who claimed that her boyfriend, identified as Omenihu, had physically assaulted and pushed her to the ground during a dispute.
The woman showed no visible injuries and declined medical attention but did complain about pain in her arm. She also requested and immediately received an emergency protective restraining order.
Officers also spoke with Omenihu at the scene and took a statement from him while also serving him with the emergency restraining order. And though he was described as “cooperative,” he was nonetheless arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence and subsequently booked into the Santa Clara County jail, though he quickly posted bail and has since been released.
The press release noted that an investigation into the incident remains ongoing and it will be up to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office to determine whether criminal charges will be pursued.
No disciplinary measures … yet
One might assume that a player being arrested on suspected domestic violence might disqualify them from continuing to play, but that isn’t exactly the case in this instance, according to NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero.
The reporter tweeted on Wednesday, “From the NFL on #49ers DE Charles Omenihu, who was arrested on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge: ‘The matter will be reviewed under the league’s personal conduct policy. There is no change to his status.'”
Indeed, per the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy, it appears that little or no disciplinary action will be taken against a player by the league unless or until “the person is determined to be guilty of a criminal charge or if the NFL investigation demonstrates the person engaged in conduct prohibited by the policy.”
That said, the policy also notes that “Individual clubs may set specific standards of conduct for their players and personnel so long as those policies do not contradict or supersede the NFL Personal Conduct Policy. Clubs may elect to take other additional measures, including the imposition of fines, suspensions and terminating a player’s contract.”
Still slated to play on Sunday
In addition to the NFL deferring for the time being on holding Omenihu accountable for his alleged crime, so too will the 49ers organization, according to Fox News, as the club will continue to allow him to practice with his teammates and will remain eligible to play on Sunday.
“We’re letting the legal process take care of itself, so if he’s healthy, he’ll play this week,” head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters. “We’ve looked into it the last 48 hours, not only himself but other people. We don’t feel we should kick him off our team at this time.”
It remains to be seen if, in fact, Omenihu is actually allowed to play in his backup role on the 49ers’ defensive line or if the team will succumb to public outrage and bench him while the investigations of the police and league are ongoing.