In writing my first post for the team of Detroit Lions bloggers, I am bombarded with different angles to take. Should I skim over the hot topics of the off-season to delve into training camp and the battle for positions? Should I focus on what needs to improve from last season in order to make a longer playoff run? Should I highlight the positives going into the season?
My colleagues and I will surely get to everything in future posts but in my mind I have to acknowledge the seven arrests – and one internal team punching incident – which have occurred since the Honolulu blue and silver slumped off the Superdome field January 7th in their post-season loss to the Saints.
Seven run-ins with the law – double arrests for defensive tackle Nick Fairley, running back Mikel LeShoure and former cornerback Aaron Berry – are unfathomable. The Lions have more arrests in the past year than they have had in the previous 11 years according to utsandiego.com’s arrest database. At this new rate the Lions could be headed towards the same fate as the Cincinnati Bengals who collectively have been arrested over 37 times since 2000 (utsandiego.com). The Bengals were on the verge of becoming an elite squad under the leadership of Carson Palmer until the arrests started piling up and they were hit with a 4-11-1 season in 2008 and 4-12 season in 2010.
After the arrests, the front office responses are the only way to get a handle on the team; therefore they are crucial to the Lions’ future success on the field.
Fortunately, Detroit’s front office showed muscle of their own Monday with the release of Berry. To me, Berry committed the most absurd of all misconducts when he allegedly waved a gun in front of pedestrians. What makes this incident even more unthinkable is it occurred the day after the tragic shooting at a movie theatre in Colorado.
How could someone do such a thing? To inject fear in other human beings is cold-blooded. Hopefully, because of the Lions’ swift action in releasing the cornerback all parties involved can focus on what truly matters: human safety and happiness.
There’s no doubt in my mind Berry can overcome this incident and join the NFL once more but overcoming the incident has to come first. There needs to be a bigger emphasis on humanity than football. Berry’s statement after the incident seems heartfelt and to that he deserves credit:
“Words cannot describe how embarrassed I am right now. I’ve let my family, my teammates, my coaches and the entire Detroit Lions organization, including the fans down and I’m so sorry. I know it sounds crazy to some people, but I know I will continue to get better and grow from this unfortunate experience, I have no choice but to get better. There are always two sides to every story and the legal process will be where I will tell my side regarding this recent incident.
“I love the game of football and still feel I have a bright future ahead of me. I worked my butt off this off-season and I hope to be able to help some team in the NFL win games as I continue to grow as a father, friend, teammate and into the man I want to be. I want to thank Coach [Jim] Schwartz, Coach [Gunther] Cunningham, [general manager] Martin Mayhew and all the Lions staff, players and fan base for such a wonderful opportunity where I was able to showcase my football skills. Again, I’m so sorry for letting you all down.” – Aaron Berry (ESPN.com)
Now that my thoughts on the harsh Lions off-season is off my chest, I will turn to what’s happening on field next week.