By this point, it’s becoming like clockwork that about this time each month, a player for the Detroit Lions is going to be arrested for something.
Adding to the long list of arrests this offseason, cornerback Aaron Berry was arrested on DUI and other driving charges in Harrisburg, Pa. on Saturday morning. Rumor has it, this was after running his vehicle into another while it was parked. After that, he was charged with two counts of failure to stop and give information to law enforcement and a pair of counts of causing accidental damage to an unattended vehicle or property.
It can’t get any better, right? Well, Berry also declined to submit to a breathalyzer test. Man, you can’t write comedy this good. Especially this statement from the Lions front office.
“We are extremely disappointed in the reports involving Aaron Berry and the incident in Pennsylvania this past weekend. This is not the standard of behavior we expect from any member of our organization. We have strongly and repeatedly emphasized the need to be accountable on and off the field, which makes this incident with Aaron all the more disappointing. We will have further comments regarding this situation when appropriate.”
Why is it funny, do you ask?
Because this has gotten tot he point where the organization basically keeps this statement around with an “Insert Player Name Here” line at the beginning.
Running Back Mikel Leshoure will miss the first two games of 2012 after being suspended for two marijuana arrests, and DT Nick Fairley is facing DUI and marijuana charges. If Berry pleads or is found guilty of the DUI charge, he will face discipline via the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
It seems that this is the normal every offseason, as I have written about multiple times, but the discipline problem for the league is a huge concern going forward. Especially, it seems, for the Detroit Lions, who are on the verge of becoming the new Cincinnati Bengals when it comes to player arrests.
Berry was expected to compete for a starting spot this season after playing in 11 games in 2011 for Detroit, defending 11 passes and recording 31 tackles. But until we see the punishment for this latest penalty, there’s no telling how that will play out.
It isn’t likely that this problem the NFL is facing is going to go away anytime soon. The league is easily the most successful in American sports by a long shot. But they’ve gotten a lot of bad press this offseason with Bountygate, the concussion debates and player arrests.
Roger Goodell has shown that he has no problem swinging the banhammer when players get out of line, but with things seemingly getting worse than better, it may not be enough.