Oh NFL, when will you ever learn? You’ve once again received a face full of egg, this time thanks to the idiocy of your very own Chicago Bears and their now former defensive end Ray McDonald.
McDonald, for those who don’t know, was arrested over the weekend for domestic violence and child endangerment. Troubling news on its own, but even more troubling if you remember that McDonald was cut by the San Fransisco 49ers a mere six months ago due to sexual assault allegations (which came shortly after a previous domestic violence accusation). Despite this man’s troubling history with women, the Bears decided to sign McDonald anyway.
By way of justifying the signing, Bears Chairman George McCaskey spoke of an investigation that he did into McDonald’s character. What did this so called investigation entail you may be asking? It consisted of meeting with McDonald in person and having a phone conversation with McDonald’s mother, as well as… oh wait, that was it? Yup, that was it. He never spoke to any of the alleged victims, their lawyers or any law enforcement. To top it off when asked why he didn’t interview the alleged victims McCaskey said “because they’re biased…” Wait, what???
During this oh so thorough “investigation,” the completely unbiased McDonald and his moms were able to convince McCaskey that the defensive end was “very sincere and motivated ” and also someone who “loves football…” and “wants that career to continue…” Well that clears it up, no one that motivated and in love with football could be a rapist and abuser right?
If you’ve been paying attention to the goings on in the NFL then the sort of “investigation” McCasky conducted should sound familiar. It’s the same technique the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used to investigate Jameis Winston before making him the number one pick in this year’s draft. Winston you’ll remember is yet another player with a history of troubling behavior and rape charges who has so far never truly been held accountable for his behavior.
Both the Buccaneers and the Bears justified adding these men by arguing they deserve second chances. But how can a person have a second chance when they’re still coasting by on their first? I mean come on, they were never held accountable. McDonald came the closest, having been cut by one team, but he was cut in the offseason and then signed so fast after the 49ers dropped him that he surely had no time to reflect on his choices! Neither man stopped playing football despite their histories, neither man went to jail or suffered any real consequences. So can someone explain to me exactly when either player lost his first chance?
It’s also pretty clear that neither the Buccaneers nor the Bears were interested in truly investigating these men. They wanted an incomplete picture precisely because they don’t care about accountability or justice or public perception or even the NFL’s NO MORE initiative. It’s just the same old win at all costs attitude, different day.
So here we are, the season hasn’t even started yet… the first season since all the proclamations about being a “new NFL” that plans on taking a stand when it comes to violence against women and so far we’ve seen: two accused rapists very publicly and rather stupidly hired and one of them has proven to be, in the famous words every NFL fan knows by heart; “exactly who we thought he was.” Oh and let’s not forget that both of these signings were based on sham character investigations in which team owners acted like they were afraid to sit in a room with a woman who may have a different opinion of their precious players.
NO MORE my ass NFL. It’s pretty clear to all of us that ain’t a damn thing changed.