Good ole Washington Redskins “safety” Brandon Meriweather was at it again on Monday afternoon, speaking to the Washington media after his suspension was lifted by the NFL following a one-game ban for illegal hits against Chicago Bears Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in Week 7.
In his press availability, Meriweather absolutely unloaded on both the league for their discipline policy, and on Marshall himself for what he said about Meriweather following that game. Here is a taste of what he had to say:
Meriweather: "You’ve got to tear people’s ACLs and mess up people’s knees now. You can’t hit them high no more. You’ve just got to go low.” — Zac Boyer (@ZacBoyer) October 28, 2013
Meriweather: "He feel like I need to be kicked out of the league? I feel like people who beat their girlfriends should be kicked out, too." — Zac Boyer (@ZacBoyer) October 28, 2013
Brandon Marshall was the subject of a civil suit filed a few year back by a former girlfriend who accused him of abusing her. — Zac Boyer (@ZacBoyer) October 28, 2013
As Boyer, the Washington Times’ Redskins beat writer, pointed out in a subsequent tweet, the case against Marshall was dismissed in September, and the Bears wide receiver was cleared of any wrong-doing in the case, but that isn’t what is most interesting about Meriweather’s remarks.
For starters, it’s clear that he feels like he plays the game the right way, which apparently involves head-hunting and showing a complete lack of remorse for his strategy of trying to end the careers of his fellow NFL players. There is something to be said for the league’s insistence on disciplining for head shots but not for guys who attack the knees of opposing players (with the exception of N’Damukong Suh), so Meriweather has a little bit of a point there.
The point that he is missing though is that just about every other safety in the league has figured out that there is plenty of room to hit players in the area from their shoulders down to their upper legs. Just because Meriweather can’t seem to figure out that launching himself helmet-first at other players’ heads isn’t an acceptable tackling technique doesn’t mean that other players in the league share his struggle, and his comments clearly reflect that he still thinks he’s the victim of some gross miscarriage of justice rather than the deserving recipient of league discipline.
The Marshall comments are ridiculous as well. Ad hominem attacks are pretty standard fare in NFL circles, but bringing up a matter that has already been adjudicated, and one that Marshall was cleared in, seems to be over the line as well. Even if it hadn’t been, Marshall’s past indiscretions have no bearing on what he does on a football field, whereas Meriweather’s repeated hits to the heads of opposing players have all the bearing in the world on his now-soiled reputation.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Meriweather decided to lash out in this way in his first public remarks following his two game suspension (that was inexplicably lowered to one game on appeal), but what should surprise folks is that he didn’t show an ounce of contrition for what he did. Usually, a player will own up to at least using poor judgment in a situation like this, and say all the right things about having to adjust his playing style.
Instead of doing that, and possibly softening the blow should he step over the line again, Meriweather instead opted for the sarcastic route, and brought Marshall back into the fracas in the process. This player clearly has not learned the lesson from forfeiting a game check, and if and when he comes before Roger Goddell and company again for his reckless play, then the league should do itself a favor and throw the book at him before it’s too late.
In the end though, perhaps the one silver lining of this story was how Marshall chose to respond: