I was surprised the Bears cut Ray McDonald on Monday. No, not because he was involved in a domestic violence incident in California. I’m used to those. This was his third one. No, what surprised me about the Bears cutting McDonald was that he was even on the team to be cut after his Memorial Day arrest.
Last summer, police cited McDonald for a domestic violence issue in San Jose.
The 49ers, his employers at the time, stood by his side and waited for the proverbial “legal system to run its course”, even though the NFL was dealing with the Ray Rice domestic violence incident at the time.
McDonald avoided charges in that incident, but in December police named him in a sexual assault investigation.
San Francisco immediately released him, and most logical NFL observers figured his career was over because of, at best, really bad decisions.
Lo and behold, the Bears decided McDonald had somehow redeemed himself or hadn’t done anything wrong, and signed him in March. They determined that, even though he had been arrested and investigated for one crime against a woman and then investigated in another, he must have been a victim of circumstances and he’d help their team.
At the end of the day, all teams are looking for is that guy that’s talented enough to help, off-field problems be damned.
Of course, the Bears’ decision backfired. Even though they had a zero tolerance policy, Chicago built their 2015 team with the idea that McDonald would be around and productive. Granted, Ego Ferguson was atop the depth chart, but we didn’t expect Ferguson to start over McDonald, did we?
The same thing has happened in Dallas, where the Cowboys signed Greg Hardy, who last summer had been convicted of assaulting his girlfriend, Nicole Holder. Under North Carolina law, Hardy was allowed to appeal, and Holder didn’t show up for that hearing, allegedly because Hardy paid her for her silence. The Panthers released Hardy and Dallas signed him.
This, despite an NFL investigation that found “First, he used physical force against her which caused her to land in a bathtub. Second, he used physical force against her which caused her to land on a futon that was covered with at least four semi-automatic rifles. Third, he used physical force against her by placing his hands around Ms. Holder’s neck and applying enough pressure to leave visible marks. And fourth, he used physical force to shove Ms. Holder against a wall in his apartment’s entry hallway.”
To the league’s credit, they have suspended Hardy for ten games.
Playing in the NFL should be a privilege, even for the most talented guys.
There should be a code of honor among franchises that they don’t have players on their teams that are associated with assaulting women.
Of course, last week the New Jersey legal system dropped all charges against former Ravens running back Rice, who completed an intervention program after assaulting his then fiancé. Completion of the program allows the offender to walk, with charges dropped.
We should be a society of second chances, but that doesn’t need to extend to the National Football League. We may not like it, but NFL players are role models for many young men.
If a player beats up a woman, he shouldn’t be allowed to play in the league.
Were the Bears really blind enough to think that McDonald hadn’t done anything wrong? Or were they blinded by the talent that was available to help their team?
We all know what Greg Hardy did. Why is he allowed to ever play for the Cowboys? Rice likely won’t play again in the NFL. We’ve all seen the video tape. He shouldn’t be allowed to play in the NFL again. If he gets a job outside of football, that’s fine. But why should he be put in a position to act as a role model, if the model he displays is on tape…him hitting his fiancé and then dragging her, unconscious, out of a hotel elevator.
To the Rams’ credit, while they have a dozen players on their roster that have been arrested in college or the pros, they don’t have any woman beaters. Sure, there are going to be some young people that delve into the Devil’s Lettuce or have too many drinks, and those aren’t good, law abiding things.
When you break the law, you must pay the consequences.
A guy like Hardy without his record would have been attractive to the Rams. But they’ve avoided those guys. Chicago and Dallas should be ashamed.
While the Rams are definitely seduced by the talent of players like Janoris Jenkins, Kenny Britt and Nick Fairley, they’ve been rewarded by non-criminal behavior by Jenkins and Britt since they became Rams. The Bears have apparently learned their lesson, and the Cowboys eventually will.
Guys that beat women, beat women. They have no place in the NFL.
Read More: Good Luck Keeping Track of the NFL-to-L.A. Stadium Scenarios