Redskins safety speaks out
By Eric Wilkins, Sports Editor
The NFL has been very clear recently how they feel about shots to the head and dangerous tackles made by leading with the helmet; and with all the information available on concussions, it should come as no surprise that the league has made player safety such a public priority. The gist of it has become: hit a head, get suspended. Few know this better than Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather, who served a suspension just a few weeks ago. His reaction to the suspension, however, was undoubtedly not what the league was hoping for.
“I guess I just got to take people’s knees out,” Meriweather said. “That’s the only way. I would hate to end a guy’s career over a rule, but I guess it’s better other people than me getting suspended for longer. You just have to go low now, man. You’ve got to end people’s careers. You got to tear people’s ACLs and mess up people’s knees. You can’t hit them high anymore.”
It’s a belligerent response to the league doling out well-deserved punishment, for an infraction that they definitely should have done something about. The fact that Meriweather has apologized for his comments (a move very obviously forced by the players’ union), even if it were sincere, means nothing. Talk is cheap and this guy is a multimillionaire. If Meriweather’s comments were made outside of a football context he might have even been liable to be arrested. If it’s a crime outside of football to say such things, shouldn’t words within football result in at least a suspension? Take the outspoken Redskins safety off the field for the rest of the season and see how he responds. A five-figure fine isn’t going to do anything; neither is a one-game suspension. But a half-season suspension and all the paycheques associated with that? Even Meriweather might start rethinking his position.
In the meantime though, he wasn’t shy about sharing his feelings on Brandon Marshall’s comments either after the wide receiver suggested Meriweather be taken out of the game. The former Patriot was quick to attack Marshall’s own checkered past—specifically several incidents starting in 2006 with his girlfriend.
“He feel (sic) like I need to be kicked out of the league? I feel like people who beat their girlfriends should be kicked out the league, too. So, you tell me who you’d rather have: somebody who play aggressive on the field, or somebody who beat up their girlfriend?”
Marshall is a tough man to bring down right now though, both on the field and off it. He wore green cleats in October, knowing he would receive a fine, to promote awareness about mental health. He promptly matched the fine and donated to the cause himself.
Regardless of how the NFL deals (or doesn’t deal) with Meriweather, the league has to realize that if they continue to condone such behaviour, more will follow.