Plus, why police unions should have thicker skin when it comes to criticism from athletes, Miko Grimes’ cringe-worthy Twitter feed, and Derek Wolfe’s troubling Von Miller comments
1. I think Isaiah Crowell’s Instagram post may be the dumbest thing an NFL player has ever posted on social media, with this lone exception of this.
2. I think I’m sick of police unions wielding their power to impress a highly selective moral standard upon sports franchises. The St. Louis Police Officers Association set the standard two years ago, when they condemned the Rams players who emerged from the pre-game tunnel with a “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture in the wake of Michael Brown’s death. Officers demanded an apology and punishment for the players and received neither. This week, after Browns running back Isaiah Crowell’s heinous Instagram post of a cartoon depicting an officer’s throat being slashed (which he deleted and apologized for), Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association president Stephen Loomis called the apology “store-bought,” adding, “You're a grown ass man, and you claim you were too emotional to know it was wrong? Think we’ll accept your apology? Kiss my ass.” Loomis went on to threaten a police boycott of Browns games until Crowell is adequately punished by the team or the league. (Loomis later accepted Crowell’s second apology and pledge to donate a game check to a charity benefiting the fallen Dallas officers.)
To all the police out there and your outspoken association bosses: Your job is not to police morality. Your job is to uphold the Constitution (which protects hate speech like Crowell’s) and to keep the citizens of your locale safe. Threatening to boycott a gathering of people too large and lubricated to be policed by a private security force undermines your oath and speaks to the sort of bias many Americans are railing against. After all, I didn’t hear a peep from the police association in Philadelphia when Eagles receiver Riley Cooper was caught on camera full-throat screaming the word “nigger”, a word packed with more violence and historical anguish than any illustration of a cop being executed.
3. I think Tom Brady’s four-game suspension, which seems to be more or less official after his appeal was denied by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court on Wednesday, could have serious consequences for New England’s playoff aspirations come winter. A slow start with Jimmy Garoppolo would make home-field advantage an uphill climb, and in two road playoff games over the last eight seasons the Patriots have scored a combined 34 points and lost both contests (both at Denver). On the bright side, the Patriots will enjoy a rare three-game home stretch after the opener against Arizona.
• CAN JIMMY GAROPPOLO HANDLE THE HEAT?: With Tom Brady potentially suspended for the season’s first four games, a 2014 second-round pick out of Eastern Illinois will lead the Patriots into the 2016 season. Who the heck is this guy?
4. I think more players should go the James Harrison route when dealing with the NFL’s discipline inquiries. Rather than interview with Roger Goodell, the Steelers linebacker chose to provide the league a sworn affidavit refuting an Al-Jazeera report that included claims he used PEDs. The prospect of players showing up to New York in person to plead innocence or ask Goodell for mercy has always bothered me; if players are so bothered by Goodell’s role in discipline, they ought to at least remove some of the indignity from the process.
5. I think I’m looking forward to attending and writing about a panel discussion between several prominent ex-University of Texas athletes and Austin’s police chief, Art Acevedo, taking place Thursday in Austin. The panel is being organized by NFL players Emmanuel Acho and Fozzy Whittaker and former Olympic sprinter Natasha Hastings, who plan to discuss responsible policing and unifying their community along racial lines. We’ll be broadcasting the otherwise closed-to-the-public meeting from The MMQB’s Facebook page on Thursday, July 14, at 8 p.m. ET.
6. I don’t think, were I an NFL rookie, I would be excited about a “multidimensional” role in an NFL offense, as is being discussed for Texans rookie Braxton Miller. Each offensive skill position requires an understanding of the nuances required to thrive in the long-term, learned over several years. Guys who can do one thing really well get paid well before those who can do a bunch of things adequately. Just ask Denard Robinson.
7. I think Derek Wolfe’s return to the Denver locker room will be an icy reunion after recent comments that appeared to be a veiled jab at teammate Von Miller’s prolonged contract negotiations. “Business is business, and that’s his business,” Wolfe told Sirius XM’s Jeff Rickard and Brady Quinn on Tuesday. “He has to do what he’s gotta do … Obviously, I took a different route and decided that this is where I want to be, so I’m going to take a significant haircut to stay here, and that’s fine with me. But some people don’t feel that way.”
8. Something tells me it’s only a matter of time before Miko Grimes, wife of cornerback Brent Grimes, aims one of her vulgar, bigoted rants at the Buccaneers, who signed Brent to a two-year, $16.5 million deal in the offseason. Grimes is the most cringe-worthy NFL family member since Marcus Vick, who had a quite a prolific run.
9. Apropos of nothing, I think these are my breakout fantasy football studs for 2016:
QB: Blake Bortles, Jaguars
RB: David Johnson, Cardinals
WR: DeVante Parker, Dolphins
WR: Amari Cooper, Raiders
TE: Coby Fleener, Saints
10. I think you should read Tim Rohan’s deep dive into Donald Trump’s foray into pro football and watch Albert Breer’s primer on the Brady case. These two new additions to The MMQB are kicking serious ass and it’s only July.
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