The NFL as an entity has found ways to provide newsworthy subjects for journalists and commentators throughout almost the entire year. Consider:
- The regular season
- The playoffs
- Coaches fired and coaches hired
- The Super Bowl
- Free Agency (sort of) in February/Free Agency (really) in March
- The Draft – with Mock Drafts and Trade Rumors
- OTAs and Minicamp
- Training Camp and the final rosters…
There is one hole in the calendar; it resides between the end of minicamp and the beginning of training camp; we are in the middle of that hole in the calendar. There is no natural NFL storyline in here and we all know that Mother Nature abhors a vacuum. So, this year that vacuum seems to be filling up with news about players getting arrested for various alleged transgressions.
A few days ago, Barkevious Mingo was arrested on charges of “indecency with a child involving sexual contact”. The incident in question supposedly happened 2 years ago when the victim – a boy – was 13 years old. Here is a link to a report that lays out the charges and the situation that led up to the alleged sexual assault.
The Atlanta Falcons signed Mingo to a contract during this year’s offseason. When the Falcons learned about the charges here, they released Mingo after only the briefest moment of “gathering information”. Mingo’s attorneys have chastised the franchise for rushing to judgement because their view of this matter is that Mingo is innocent and that the charges are not much more than a “cash grab” from their client.
Indeed, the Falcons reacted to this situation very quickly. I do not pretend to be able to read minds, but I believe a significant part of the thinking by the Falcons’ braintrust went something like this:
- These charges are not anything like the sorts of behaviors that the Falcons’ organization can condone – – or even sit still for.
- Mingo could be a piece for our defense – – but not anything near “face of the franchise” or “foundation of the defense”.
- The Falcons would have been Mingo’s seventh team in the last seven seasons; teams have moved on from him quickly in the past.
- Let us move on too…
I am not saying what the Falcons did here is right and proper, but I do think that sort of logical thinking was part of how the team got to where it is today.
Another player who ran afoul of the gendarmes yesterday is Richard Sherman. According to this report from yardbarker.com, Sherman is under investigation for a single car hit-and-run violation involving only property damage and was arrested on charges of burglary domestic violence. Allegedly, he tried to enter forcibly the home of his in-laws who summoned the police and then fought with police once they were on the scene. A point of clarity here – the domestic violence has to do with his attempted entry to the home and not to any incident of violence against an inhabitant there.
Richard Sherman is a free agent; so, there is no team going through the same sort of calculus that the Falcons probably did regarding Barkevious Mingo. However, I am convinced that Richard Sherman is on the minds of a variety of entities related to the NFL. Consider:
- The Commissioner’s Office may need to decide if what allegedly happened – and more importantly what actually happened – causes Richard Sherman to face sanctions under the league’s Personal Conduct Policy. Could he even wind up on the Commissioner’s Exempt List?
- The NFLPA Executive Committee has Richard Sherman as one of its members. Sherman was elected to be a Vice President back in March. How might the players’ union handle such a situation?
- Several teams around the NFL must have had Sherman on their radar as a late signee as Training Camp approaches in about 2 weeks. Consider that Sherman has been named as a first-team All-Pro 3 times and has been selected for the Pro Bowl 5 times in his career. The reasons that teams may have to sign Sherman just got a bit more complicated by the potential overhang of the events here.
It is unfortunate for Richard Sherman that Al Davis is no longer on this side of the grass. A veteran free agent with lots of honors in his previous career and now a “bad boy” on top of all that would have been an irresistible commodity for Davis.
Finally, yesterday, I closed with a rather negative view of San Francisco from Ambrose Bierce. Today, let me offer a less-than-positive view of Chicago from Hunter S. Thompson:
“This vicious, stinking zoo, this mean-grinning, mace-smelling boneyard of a city: an elegant rockpile of a monument to everything cruel and stupid and corrupt in the human spirit.”
[A view not endorsed by the Chicago Chamber of Commerce…]
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………