Damn it, Daryl.
The news that Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington was involved in a domestic disturbance Wednesday night, one that had him allegedly harm his ex-girlfriend, should have come as more of a shock.
But alas, we already knew many professional athletes are not exactly the best of us, and are prone to making some really dumb decisions and doing dumb things.
Washington, for instance, earned a four-game suspension early last month due to substance abuse. Following that news, Washington tweeted out this message to his thousands of followers:
I apologize to all my fans, teammates and to the Cardinals Organization. I promise to work even harder and to not let you guys down anymore.
— Daryl Washington (@DWashington58) April 3, 2013
Well, Daryl, it looks like you failed. Badly.
Washington was arrested and booked into jail on two counts of aggravated assault Friday.
To be perfectly honest, it would have been fairly easy to forgive Washington for the substance abuse. Is it a selfish choice to partake? Absolutely, and one that should not go unpunished. But it’s also a victimless crime that is pretty easy to move on from. Hell, it’s why I wholeheartedly approve of the Cardinals giving Tyrann Mathieu a shot.
Sure, you want players to be smart enough not to earn a suspension, but at the end of the day there are people who mess with drugs. And, according to an ESPN.com report in April 2012, a study conducted in 2009 revealed that 22.6 percent of college athletes admitted to using marijuana at some point during the previous year — and 26.7 percent of football players surveyed came clean, so to speak.
It would be naive to think they all quit once reaching the professional level, so it stands to reason there are athletes who use drugs every now and again.
But domestic violence? Grabbing a woman around the neck and shoving her around, as he’s alleged to have done in the police report? That, I’m happy to say, is not as common.
Yet, if the allegations from Wednesday night are true, that’s exactly what the 26-year-old Pro Bowl alternate did.
Following his previous incident, Washington stated, “I was always taught that when you make a mistake, you admit it, learn from it and face whatever consequences there are. I take full responsibility and I understand that I let down my teammates, the organization and fans. I apologize for that and promise that no one will work harder to make up for it.”
This time, his statement reads:
“This is a legal matter and I am limited in what I can say other than that my lawyer and I will continue to cooperate with investigators and welcome the opportunity for all the facts to be presented. I regret that the situation has brought this kind of attention to my family and my team. I look forward to resolving it as soon as possible.”
Sadly, as his mistakes start to become a trend, it’s tough to buy into his words. Washington, who signed a six-year, $32 million contract extension prior to the 2012 season, cannot be trusted to do the right thing, not anymore.
So, what is the next course of action for the team? Well, in a statement, a Cardinals spokesperson said, “These are serious accusations that we are closely monitoring. Until all the facts are determined, and out of respect for the process, we will decline any further comment at this point.”
Indeed, the team should allow the legal process to play out before making a move. Who knows, maybe this will all be much ado about nothing and Washington will be exonerated. However, if not, the second that’s all taken care of the team should file the paperwork to release the player.
And fear not, that would not mean the end of Washington’s once-promising career. Some team will give him another chance, and it’s tough to blame them. Talent like this does not come around very often, and there’s not a team in the NFL who wouldn’t be better off with Washington on the field.
Except for the Arizona Cardinals.
As much as it will hurt to part with a player whose most recent season included 134 tackles, nine sacks and one interception, there’s no doubt the woman he allegedly assaulted felt more pain while being attacked. That cannot be tolerated, no matter how good the player is on the field.
Because if he’s a horrible person off it, there should be no place for him on the Arizona Cardinals.