I’ve spent the last few days digesting the Aqib Talib news and yes, everyday it has seemed worse, but one thing that hasn’t been mentioned or blamed in this whole situation is the Lock Out. Football players at their core are violent individuals, with a very protective, team-based mentality, that’s one of the reasons they become successful professional football players. But what changes when they join the NFL is the support group put in place around them, more specifically a coaching staff to help guide them in both on and off the field issues. So take one cup of violence, throw in a splash of job uncertainty, hold the mature coaching support group, add two cups of your sister being threatened by an ex-boyfriend and one last splash of your mother being in potential danger to top it all off and in Talib’s case what does this recipe get you? A second-degree felony charge. On paper this is no walk in the park, but the story is mixed. Some say he fired at the fleeing offender, some say he fired in the air to scare the domestic disturber, but one premise our country is run on is innocent until proven guilty.
Let me get this point across, I do not condone bringing a firearm to a fight, but when your sister calls you crying after being assaulted by an ex-boyfriend in her home, an ex-boyfriend who has multiple priors for domestic violence, your mind is going to race and rash decisions will be made. This for me is exactly when the Lock Out comes into play. Let’s keep all things the same in this disastrous recipe, but throw in one big cup of a call to a great role model, Coach Raheem Morris, a man who grew up in Irvington and was surrounded by situations like this for his whole childhood, and maybe this situation turns out differently for Aqib. Maybe Morris calms him like he had seem to do last year when he had him in prime form up until that unfortunate injury that, let’s be realistic, cost us the game against Atlanta and perhaps a shot at the playoffs. Maybe this would not have helped or maybe it would, Aqib at least deserved the option to talk to somebody, because the other role model in his life, his mother, was already on her way to solve the situation wielding a gun.
What this produces for me is a big mouthful of “maybe” and it tastes like crap. Instead of talking about getting our young team and more specifically our young secondary ready for the season we are stuck talking about whether we should cut ties with Aqib because he is too much to handle. I do not know how Raheem feels about this situation, but I’d like to think he would want to be there for Aqib, not toss him to the curb at a integral part of his develop as a football player, but more importantly as a person. I hope the charges are lifted and this becomes a moot point the more we learn of the situation, but if I’m wrong and Aqib is charged I hope that he gets the benefit of the doubt and regardless of the situation gets to keep someone like Raheem Morris in his life so he can strive to become a person of strong character and become a role model to kids following his same path in life. Individuals can not pick where they grow up or who raises them, but at this stage in his life, Aqib can choose to change and can choose who to keep around him. The sad part is it seems like he really was making an effort to get better and seemed really excited to be a part of the Young Bucs, but right at this critical moment in his life, after a call was made to him by a sobbing sister, who was there for him to call?
One final point I will make is this: Had Aqib arrived at this confrontation unarmed and this habitual domestic disturber fired a gun at him, ultimately hurting him maybe ending his career, would he be compensated when the Lock Out ends? No. So, if the charges are dropped he better not be suspended by Gestapo Goodell.