Like most fans, I really do not care what football players do off the field. Players have become quasi-celebrities and because they are famous, they get a lot of press. It is true athletes are people and nobody leads a perfect life. If held under the same scrutiny, most of us would be pretty embarrassed to have one of our bad decisions or drunken escapades put on public display. But, that is the nature of being famous. With glory and fame comes the reasonable expectation the media will write and comment about players bad decision-making and questionable behavior.
When the Ahmad Brooks' news broke alleging assault and battery of teammate Lamar Divens, there were mixed reactions. Some fans felt it wasn't newsworthy, because it wasn't "football related" or it was just an inconsequential "drunken fight" with a friend. I could not disagree more.
The NFL subjects all players to its policy of personal conduct standards. As such, it deserves our attention. There is no doubt in my mind Brooks will face some form of punishment (e.g. a fine or suspension) by the NFL. Not only does the behavior adversely affect Brooks, but it affects the team he plays for.
Honestly, I was pretty disappointed in Brooks. Like it or not, our players are representatives of our team. When one of our players puts himself in a negative light, it forces our front office and coaching staff from their respective jobs and they are required to deal with putting out fires. I think our general manager, front office and coaches have more important things to do.
That being said, all teams have to deal with this nonsense. We all know what the Patriots are dealing with in Aaron Hernandez. Speaking of which, I read an article the other day comparing Brooks and Hernandez. Brooks' behavior was stupid and criminal, but I think Grant Cohn took a leap off the deep end when he compared the two. A drunken assault is not remotely tantamount (or equal) to a premeditated execution-type murder. Cohn unequivocally called on Jed York to release Brooks, pointing to the Patriots as an example. I do not see the two incidents warranting the same punishment.
But I will say this, anyone who thinks it is OK to repeatedly hit another person with a beer bottle over the head and threatens to "get [his] (expletive) gun" should probably see a psychotherapist. I am not a doctor, but I think it's a pretty safe assessment.
The violence alone is difficult to comprehend. Still, what continued to bother me about this incident was one of our young players was the victim. And, Lawrence Okoye and Michael Purcell had to witness it. Brooks has really proven to be a horrible example to our young players. Our young players need to be focused on making the roster; or in Okoye's case, learning how to play the game, not involved in this ridiculous hullabaloo.
Should fans and the 49ers call out Brooks? Absolutely. Frankly, I am disappointed the Santa Clara prosecutors have seemingly shelved the arrest warrant. It is being reported the warrant was filed in error. Even without the testimony of Divens, prosecutors had enough evidence to go forward with felony charges from the statements in the police reports alone. A judge had already signed it and it was ready to be executed. By the unusual circumstances, the inference created is the Santa Clara DA's office has managed to sweep this under the rug.
I am not saying Brooks deserves 4-years in prison, nor does he deserve to be released by the 49ers. But, Brooks has some issues. This isn't his first run-in with the law. In 2008, as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, he allegedly punched a girl in the face. Brooks needs a serious wake-up call. Generally, if there are never consequences, people do not learn.
If Santa Clara prosecutors do nothing, I am hoping the NFL and the 49ers will. Certainly, if the 49ers require Chris Culliver into "sensitivity training" for his actions, the organization will be as diligent with disciplining Brooks. I just hope they don't listen to Grant Cohn. The punishment should fit the crime.