Lions leader Lewand suspended, fined by league for DWI arrest

DETROIT -- Lions president Tom Lewand will be suspended for 30 days and fined $100,000 for violating the NFL's personal-conduct policy following his guilty plea to driving while impaired, the league announced Friday.

The suspension begins Aug. 25, and Lewand will be permitted back at work Sept. 24. Lewand, who met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at the league office in New York on July 16, also will do community service.

In a letter to Lewand, Goodell wrote: "You occupy a special position of responsibility and trust, and -- as you have publicly acknowledged -- your conduct must be consistent with someone in that position. As we have discussed, those who occupy leadership positions are held to a higher standard of conduct that exceeds what is ordinarily expected of players or members of the general public.

Lewand pleaded guilty July 9 and was sentenced to six months of probation with $870 in fines and costs. He was arrested June 25 after his car was seen crossing from one lane to another after leaving a bar parking lot.

Police say Lewand's blood-alcohol level was 0.21 percent, more than twice the state's legal limit for driving.

"I remain committed to accepting all of the consequences of my actions, including those in the commissioner's decision," Lewand said in a statement released by the team. "I am deeply grateful for the support I have received."

In a statement, Lions owner William Clay Ford said Lewand continues to have his full support.

"We have a strong organization, thanks in large part to Tom's leadership since he became team president, and I am confident that our organization will be able to operate efficiently until Tom returns," Ford said.

Lewand told authorities he was a designated driver picking up a friend in Denton Township, about 150 miles northwest of Detroit. He failed a sobriety test, struggling to walk heel to toe as requested and touching his upper lip instead of his nose, according to a Roscommon County sheriff's department report.

Lewand later issued a statement saying he was "deeply sorry" for his actions. Goodell referred to Lewand's statement Friday, writing, "I commend you for your candor, your willingness to accept responsibility, and your publicly-stated recognition that this incident affects the reputation of the Lions and the NFL."

Lewand was promoted to team president after the 2008 season, moving to the top of the Lions' front office after spending more than a decade developing trust as the person within the organization who has negotiated player contracts worth more than $1 billion and guided the construction of Ford Field.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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