From the beginning it didn’t look too good for Aqib Talib after he was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
In late March Talib allegedly used a handgun to assault his sister’s boyfriend during a domestic dispute and fired two shots. His mother Okolo was also involved in the incident and both were charged, with Aqib spending two hours in jail before being released on a $25,000 bond.
The promising young Bucs cornerback was officially indicted Friday, according to the St. Petersburg Times. The indictment for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon came only two days after a grand jury was presented with evidence, and is a second degree felony charge that carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Okolo was also indicted on similar charges.
Talib’s lawyers sounded confident, because lawyers are paid to sound confident. Jay K. Reisenger, his Pittsburgh-based attorney who rolls with the athletic big wigs and has also represented Alex Rodriguez, issued a statement in which he took the expected defiant stance.
“It is important to note that the indictment is merely a formal accusation, and that Mr. Talib has not been convicted of any crime with respect to this matter. The grand jury was not privy to a number of important facts. We are very confident that once we have the opportunity to present all of the facts, this matter will be resolved in Mr. Talib’s favor. Aqib looks forward to putting this matter behind him and returning to the game of football. Given the sensitive nature of this matter, we cannot comment any further.”
We’ve already given our take on Talib’s latest and most serious mess (see Gagnon’s typical Gagnon rant linked above), and our legal crystal ball was smashed long ago. Trying to predict the outcome of serious charges of this nature is unwise and often downright foolish.
But what this means for Talib’s NFL career is a lot less murky at this point. If the league’s personal conduct policy (which is still in play despite the lockout) provides the grounds for a suspension after a player has a cloudy rendezvous with a college student in a quaint little college town, then Roger Goodell will surely react strongly to a player who fired shots at another human being.As we’ve so often seen, the opinions given by a court of law matter less than those given by the court of public opinion and a player’s past history of stupidity.
How long the punishment for Talib will be is also unclear during a court case that’s as unclear as most domestic disturbances that involve multiple uses of the word “allegedly.” But what’s become increasingly clear is that Tampa Bay should be making plans to move forward without a cornerback who has 15 interceptions in just three seasons.