It would be easy to sit here, 24 hours after Aaron Berry was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol this past weekend, and chastise the Lions.
That certainly seems like a common sense reaction at first, doesn’t it? When the cornerback was charged it marked the sixth off-field legal run-in by a Lions player this offseason, and we still have one month left until training camp. Taking that further and beyond Detroit, when Berry slammed into some parked cars David Diehl style Saturday morning, he registered the third DUI by an NFL player over just the past few months.
The Lions deserve to be criticized heavily for consistently drafting players with major character concerns. Mikel Leshoure and Nick Fairley–selected in the first and third rounds respectively last year–have been arrested a combined four times this offseason. That includes a hat trick of drug charges between them, and Fairley’s DUI. The continued idiocy is astounding, especially when we now toss in Berry’s drunken stupidity, which shows that he has no motivation whatsoever to learn from the lessons of his teammates.
That education should have taken place when Leshoure was suspended by the league for two games and stripped of a month’s pay. When he was out gallivanting around bars, Berry should have already been going through the same common sense process that normal people go through every night in every major city after an evening of inebriation. The decision is simple: designated driver, cab, or walk.
Instead he chose collisions with parked cars.
That’s why while we can continue to criticize the Lions for drafting and signing morons, what exactly would you like them to do now with their current roster of talented delinquents? What can they do now? Their players have shown that they care very little about the consequences of their actions, since Leshoure and Fairley have been arrested twice each, and now Berry has watched the misdeeds of his teammates, and ignored them entirely.
As Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit Free Press writes, there’s really only one option left for head coach Jim Schwartz and GM Martin Mayhew. But it’s an undesirable option, and it sets a precedent that will be difficult to maintain.
Releasing a player is one way to remove a specific problem, but it stirs all sorts of other issues. There are salary cap implications, and the relative importance of Berry, Leshoure and Fairley, each in the mix for a starting job. And yes, that matters. Berry has been praised lavishly by defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham and was expected to be a key player at a position of need.
Just when the Lions are poised for title contention, they’re shaken by absolute foolishness. What a mess, and once again, the bulk of blame lands directly on immature players. Don’t let them hide behind some vague notion of institutional passiveness. The Lions have to address the issue, to be sure, but every incident happened outside their control.
The last sentence highlights the main, underlying issue here. These are adults who are fully capable of adult behavior, and understanding adult consequences. Schwartz’s job description requires him to organize a game plan, be an effective leader, develop the skills of his players, and strategize relentlessly.
He’s not their guidance councillor. He’s assumed that grown men can be responsible, decent people and learn from their mistakes. Sadly, that’s turned out to be a woefully wrong assumption, but we’re going to punish him for that?
And now the links part of the links post…
- A woman has been shopping around pictures that she claims shows Terrell Owens taking a solo ride to pleasure town. If two of the leading online purchasers of sleaze (Deadspin and TMZ) passed because they think the pics are fake and is a poor attempt to make money in Internetland, then they’re probably fake. Also, hasn’t Owens suffered enough? Please, people, let him enjoy himself in peace (see what I did there?). [Deadspin]
- You’re aware that even average NFL players make the kind of money that normal folk can only rake in through some sort of illegal activity. This is common knowledge. But seeing players’ salaries compared to the average annual paychecks of other high-paying professions (lawyers, CEOs, and, um, President of the United States) is still pretty staggering. [info graphic]
- The first episode of Warren Sapp’s judge show is quite predictably unwatchable. But you’ll watch it anyway, and allow it to exist. [KSK]
- If we categorize a blitz as any play when the defense sends four or more pass rushers, then Michael Vick was blitzed on 35.4 percent of his passing attempts last year. [Sheil Kapadia]
- The Saints are apparently the “greatest unknown in league history” due to the continued kick to the jugular they’ve taken all offseason. [Jeff Duncan]
- Ray Rice thinks that Joe Flacco outplayed Tom Brady in the AFC Championship game. He’s not wrong. [Ryan Wilson]
- The Packers are only one year removed from their last championship, but head coach Mike McCarthy still thinks that the 2012 version of his team will be the most experienced and talented group he’s ever coached. [Green Bay Press-Gazette]
- Please hold your head with both hands before reading the next sentence to ensure that your brain doesn’t slide out. OK? Ready? There are more undrafted free agents in the Hall of Fame than No. 1 overall picks. [Jeff Darlington on Twitter]