NFL leaders are lost -- think camels in Alaska.
In the aftermath of the arrest of defensive lineman Ray McDonald, the Bears’ brass took little-to-no-time taking out the scythe and releasing the commodity on Memorial Day Monday. Easy peasy, right?
"We believe in second chances, but when we signed Ray we were very clear what our expectations were if he was to remain a Bear," General Manager Ryan Pace said in team-issued release. "He was not able to meet the standard and the decision was made to release him."
Dear Bears owner George McCaskey: Child, please, what standard? The standards that you followed to qualify you to sit on the NFL’s revamped code of conduct committee? Ah, must be nice knowing that your organization could throw an undersized fish back into the bay without taking a cap hit. Teach a man how to fish, Goodell.
Dear League: McCaskey and general manager Ryan Pace – Dumberer and Dumbest – are begging for a wake-up call. Before the couple again neglects doing their due diligence to investigate backgrounds of their prospective players, take this opportunity to appear serious about violating the Shield. Maybe a punishment is necessary for teams that grab regularly troubled players only to be bitten yet again by those same trouble makers.
What McDonald said to persuade the sharks in the office would have set off the alarm on any working polygraph test the moment he uttered, "I’ve changed." What evidence did he bring to the show-and-tell? What steps were taken towards his improvement? In fact, all the evidence seems to point to the Bears organization willfully ignoring McDonald's past in favor of his on-field abilities. It is being reported that part of the interview process to gain their trust, McCaskey only asked for McDonald's family as a reference on his character instead of anyone involved in any of his 2 prior arrests. Keep in mind this is his mother, who said "He’s been victimized. She has lied on him. This is bigger than football. This is his freedom" after his arrest for sexual assault; his second overall arrest for a violent crime.
Denial is a strange enigma – he filed a defamation suit against a woman who claimed he sexually assaulted her. Who can change if he or she doesn’t know what was wrong in the first place?
When the former 49er was arrested twice last season: A domestic violence-related charge in the summer and sexual assault in December, San Francisco too granted McDonald a "second chance". And a subsequent release after the second arrest, citing a pattern of poor decision-making. He was not charged in either case, and to add unnecessary fire like a Kanye West show the NFL itself declined to penalize McDonald all while trying to combat an image of thugs and hoodlums making millions under it's umbrella.
Who’s at fault? Is it the 49ers, who developed McDonald for eight seasons, for not surround McDonald with strong mentorship and counseling? Did the defensive tackle not open up to the staff about a growing concern? Aren’t teammates perceived to keep another accountable for their actions?
Does Kyle Long’s gesture on Twitter represent the culture of an NFL locker room? Or Chicago's locker room? The finger-pointing game never ends, and the 'Shield' deflects all spearing blame. Ray Rice’s domestic violence case last year ultimately resulted in an indefinite suspension. Seems like nobody learned from that incident including the NFL, who only seem to be interested in the 'Shield' when it becomes a public relations nightmare, not for the well being of it's players and their families.
Head Coach John Harbaugh penned this article on why the sport of football matters and how the game taught millions of young men invaluable lessons. Well then, more than a championship, the Ray McDonalds of the NFL need guidance and mentorship. Maybe it's time for punishment to be levied on all of those that continuously fail to do what is necessary and right.