The Giants announced today that Dixon has been suspended without pay for one week for conduct detrimental to the team. Dixon, who has missed three of the last four games with a knee injury, has been late for team meetings, missed scheduled treatments with the team's medical staff and failed to show up for scheduled doctors' appointments.
"It's always a hard decision for me," Fassel said. "I do not want to have to do that. It is a last resort. I can only tell you this: I always give a guy the benefit of the doubt to begin with. I have him in my office and we talk about it. If it happens again, I will hit him with a fine. If it continues, there is only one recourse, and that is the most serious: to suspend him. And that hits him in the pocket book pretty damn hard. I can tolerate things for a while, but Ron has missed doctors appointments, training appointments, has been late for meetings, missed meetings and in the last couple of days, he has missed training, missed another treatment and a team meeting this morning."
That drained the remaining patience Fassel had regarding Dixon. The suspension began this morning. Dixon cannot re-join the team until next Wednesday.
"The time before, and I try to keep players informed, I told him that if it happens again I am going to suspend him," Fassel said. "When I tell you something, it is going to happen. I am not going to back off. I don't care what the situation is right now as far as outside criteria, how many games are left and so forth. That does not come into the equation. I like the young man personally. I want to work with him, counsel him, spend time with him, understand him.
"But, at the same time, I want to hold the line and hold him accountable for everything else I hold this team accountable. And I do hold the line of discipline on that, otherwise I just can't live with myself. That is the way it is going to be."
Both Fassel and general manager Ernie Accorsi stressed that the suspension does not affect Dixon's future with the team.
"Does that mean the end of his career here? No, it does not," Fassel said. "As soon as he does his time and pays his fine, I will be back helping him get on the straight and narrow."
"He's a good kid," Accorsi said. "But he has to abide by the same rules as his teammates."
This is the second time Dixon has been suspended by the team. As a rookie in 2000, he was suspended for a Dec. 10 game against Pittsburgh after arriving late for a walk-through the day prior to the game. Before his NFL regular-season debut on Sept. 3, 2000, Dixon was fined by coach Jim Fassel after oversleeping and missing a team meeting.