As a sports fan, I know it takes a fair amount of blinkering to admire your athletic heroes. To paraphrase Charles Barkley (of whom I am fond), athletes shouldn't be considered role models.
But the Chicago Bears have really brought me down today with the announcement that they were "aware" of a recent incident where their newest acquisition, wide receiver Brandon Marshall, allegedly punched a woman in the face outside a New York club. Marshall has also been arrested twice for suspicion of domestic violence and was involved in a fight at a Denver night club that eventually sparked a shooting that killed former Denver Broncos teammate Darrent Williams.
Bears GM Phil Emery, when announcing the acquisition of Marshall, said “When you’re looking at players, you’re looking at...their character, their work ethic, passion, reliability, accountability, the type of people they are to the community."
If allegations against Marshall are true, I don't think they really looked too hard. "We have high expectations for Brandon as a Bear," Emery said later, in a statement regarding Marshall's latest incident.
Maybe the team has high expectations for Marshall as a Bear, but I don't think they have especially high expectations for Marshall as a person.
I don't have a cute or funny way of spinning this: I'm going to miss cheering for the Bears this season.
Again, I know there aren't too many saints in the athletic world, but the fact that the Bears were fully aware of Marshall's history and recent allegations against him, added him to the team and basically defended their choice is incredibly disappointing. From my perspective, this year so far isn't shaping up to be a fabulous one when it comes to women's rights, and this is just another, more local blow. Praising the addition of a person like Marshall to the team, and the thought of thousands of Bears fans praying and cheering for his success makes me pretty sick. I guess I'll have a lot of free time on Sundays this upcoming fall and winter.