How has it come to this?
ESPN is now reporting the Baltimore Raven’s may have actively attempted to shield Rice from the incident and misdirect the NFL office. The Minnesota Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf deactivate Adrian Peterson, lose a game, reactivate AP, deactivate him again due to public backlash all while making their subordinates justify their decisions. Jerry Richardson made an impassioned speech saying he along with his NFL owner peers abhor domestic violence, only to let his domestic violence accused star defensive end Greg Hardy play only days later.
Thus the arrest of Jonathan Dwyer was a shocking development this past week. Why didn't this turn into another scandal to be dissected by news outlets across the country?
First, Dwyer is not a star player on an NFL team, but only a journeyman running back. Second and more important, the Cardinals dealt with the allegations swiftly and seriously. Upon the arrest the Cardinals deactivated Dwyer thus suspending him from any team activities.
Later, surely after a meeting between Michael Bidwell, Steve Keim and other team personnel including lawyers and at least the head of the PR department. The team decided to place him on the reserve/non-football illness list, effectively ending Dwyer’s season regardless of legal outcomes.
Then Bruce Arians expertly laid out how the team would approach the situation by saying, "until he is exonerated, he will not be a member of this football team, if and when he is exonerated, I will gladly take him back."
Time to celebrate how much morally driven the Cardinals organization is compared to the other NFL teams right? Wrong.
He pleaded guilty of aggravated assault against his ex-girlfriend this past summer and nothing happened. Now, Washington wasn't congratulated. Nor did the team ignore the situation. But neither was he threatened with any type of suspension by the team. In fact, he was going to be punished by Goodell before he violated the player conduct policy for substance abuse and suspended the entire season.
The question of what to do with Washington is now even tougher to answer. Goodell has shown no qualms in retroactive punishments. He indefinitely suspended Ray Rice. Do all domestic violence offenders get the same punishment? Or is a video of the incident an important factor?
If Dwyer is found guilty, but doesn’t get jail time, do the Cards keep him? If not, what does that mean for Daryl Washington? Does he get cut? Or will he get to keep his job because he is the better player? Why was there no movement with Washington originally? Arians went on record saying the situations were different, why?
Jane Coason wrote a piece questioning the idea the NFL was ever filled with morally decent men. This offseason, more than any other, has brought to light many questions that we all must wrestle with and attempt to answer.
The most important question for the Cardinals happens to be, what is the acceptable punishment for Washington? For fans the question now becomes..
What is it going to take for us to stop watching?