/* Google Analytics Code */ /* Google Analytics Code End*/ /* Hide-Show Comments Code */
Can't Miss Slants

WHO WILL TAKE A CHANCE ON LA’EL COLLINS?

LSU offensive tackle, La’el Collins, was expected to be selected high in the first round of this NFL’s draft. Instead, Collins was passed on by all 32 teams, and he slipped out of the draft completely.

Collins met Baton Rouge police Monday as part of the investigation into the murder of Brittany Mills. Collins is not a suspect in the case. Mills, 29, was pregnant at the time of her death and had a previous relationship with Collins.

The Low-Down

According to TMZ Sports, Collins has a solid alibi. According to their source, Collins was in New Orleans at the time of the murder, and has witnesses and phone records that will back this up.

This would seem to be enough for a team to take a chance on such a highly rated prospect, and there are reports that several teams have shown some interest. There is even a report out that Rex Ryan, of the Buffalo Bills, has already met with Collins.

The Risk Factor

The risk here, is that it comes on the heals of several high profile cases involving current NFL Players. It comes at a time when there is heightened awareness of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

The three most significant incidents involve Aaron Hernandez, formerly of the New England Patriots, who was recently convicted in the murder of Odin Lloyd. Hernandez, who had recently signed a contract extension with the Patriots, is now sentenced to life in prison.

A second case, involving Ray Rice, is probably the most pivotal case of domestic violence. Rice was indited on domestic violence charges, but appeared the he would avoid any major punishment, until an explosive video of the event surfaced. The NFL indefinitely suspended Rice was the video was made public, but the league took a beating over it’s handling of the case. This incident has had a significant impact on how the NFL will handle investigations and punishments on these cases, going forward. Ray Rice has had is suspension lifted by the league, and is available to be signed as a free agent by any team in the league.

Finally, we have the case of Adrian Peterson. Peterson was charged and convicted of domestic violence against his son. Peterson admitted to child abuse which included beating his 4-year-old son with a tree branch, sending him to the hospital with lacerations, including on the child’s scrotum. All while stuffing leaves in the child’s mouth. Peterson has been cleared by the league to play, and is currently under contract by the Minnesota Vikings.

These incidents, and others like them, should give teams pause when signing players with off field issues. It is possible to minimize the risk teams take, by how they structure their contracts. The Dallas Cowboys recently signed Greg Hardy, who was convicted of domestic violence, but the charges were later dropped. None the less, The NFL has suspended the Dallas Cowboys’ Greg Hardy without pay for the first 10 games of the upcoming season. An NFL investigation found “sufficient credible evidence” that Hardy violated NFL rules by using “physical force” against a woman.
“The net effect of these acts was that Ms. Holder was severely traumatized and sustained a range of injuries, including bruises and scratches on her neck, shoulders, upper chest, back, arms and feet,” Goodell wrote
.
While the Cowboys may be off the hook for much of the money in Hardy’s contract, they will be without his services for 10 games.

Casting Judgement

I wasn’t placed on this earth to judge others, and I’m not convinced the NFL should be in this business either. Anyone can understand the stance that incidents like these “affect the brand”, but the hypocrisy of taking a moral stance, and then allowing these players to continue to play in the league, is not lost on the public.

Let’s be honest, football is a business. The business of the 32 franchises is to put a winning product on the field. If a player can help you win, there are plenty of teams who will take a chance on players with “character issues”.