Keyshawn Johnson led the discussion, recalling when police were called to his home over a domestic dispute. He said that ESPN refrained from pilloring him pending the resolution of the charges (Johnson was later cleared of the charges), and argued that due process was a right that extended to all players. “Anytime your name is run through the mud, and not let due process take its place, your brand and your reputation is hit,” Johnson said.
Several things, in order:
1. Plenty of people who are good at their jobs are also total assholes. Ty Cobb was a good goddamn ballplayer. So was Pete Rose. There are people I’ve worked with who I wouldn’t throw a rope to if they were drowning, but they were what I needed at the time. What’s more important, being a good guy or being good at the job? This is a problem because …
2. The NFL is not entirely clear on what “the job” is. Is it to play football? Or is it to be a role model and upstanding citizen in all things? If it’s the former, then firing people for shitty things they do off the field seems unfair. They’re in the mess they’re in over the Ray Rice sitch because the standards were and are unclear. Is there a “no felons” policy? Should there be?
(If you can’t get a job washing dishes in a restaurant because you have a felony on your record maybe you shouldn’t be able to play football for a bazillion dollars.)
3. At some point we have decided that “somebody saying mean things about me on the TV machine” is equivalent to actual prison time, in that it is a consequence that should be “enough” without bringing criminal charges into it. This is FUCKING INSANE.
4. Talking about this whole shit-tastic sports week with some friends over the weekend we decided that if we were highly paid professional athletes we would hire someone to follow us around and do things like make sure we took cabs instead of risking DUIs, and only had sex with enthusiastic adult people.
5. When you set up a structure that you think parallels the criminal justice system in some way, you feel like you’re handling shit on your own and you don’t need the cops. See also the Catholic Church and this bullshit with Penn State. Let the goddamn cops do their jobs. This isn’t a matter for HR to settle.