I'll keep this relatively short, in the interest of trying to avoid exploding everyone's synapses with yet more chatter about That Situation Which Would Not Die, but I did have to raise a new point of discussion with the community. And it's this: I'm a little troubled by the absolute disparity of the reactions we had to the Cutler drama, and then to the Marshall drama.
We absolutely laid into Jay, not without merit, for handling a professional situation badly -- everyone's seen the names applied to him, everyone's wishing that the MSM would go back to ignoring us, everyone's heard the snide jokes. We want to trade him, dump him, etc, etc. My point isn't to argue one side or another of the Cutler drama. It's to compare our reaction to Jay's misadventures with our reaction to Marshall's. And that's what's bothering me.
Aside from one or two expressions of exasperation and thought that maybe it would be all right if we got rid of him for a second rounder, the prevailing sentiment at MHR is that the charges got dropped and fortunately we won't have to worry about that. Other than that, it's mostly kvetching about Goodell's conduct policies and how lucky we were that Marshall might not have to miss any time. But... what exactly am I missing? We hear about how Marshall's turned his life around, has a new fiancee who's responsible for a positive influence on him, and scarcely a month after the Pro Bowl where he proposed to her, here he is, back in his notorious trouble spot Atlanta, beating on a woman again, and getting arrested for the fourth time since March 2006.
True, I understand that she might have been beating back, but that does not excuse Brandon at all in my mind -- this is displaying a completely worrisome pattern of behaviour that, despite all his proclamations, he's failed to break. This, in my opinion, is a bit more flagrant a transgression than Jay just displaying immaturity, yet it's passed almost wholly unremarked -- as I said, only a few comments here and there complaining, the matter of Brandon's own culpability has gone almost under the radar. As I said, Jay's been assaulted from every front, while everyone's just glad Brandon hopefully won't miss time. Jay's seen as being an anti-team player, while Brandon's importance to the team, while undeniable, is prioritised over his arguably much more serious offence. What aren't I getting?
I want this crapstorm to blow over just as much as anyone. But let's not lose sight of the fact that ignoring more serious matters won't help.
I want Jay Cutler to learn from his mistakes, make up with the front office, and be the Denver Broncos' quarterback -- I want him to be the guy, but only if he's willing to take that responsibility, bite a bullet, and finally stop threatening to squelch a million-dollar arm with a ten-cent head. I want Brandon Marshall to learn a lesson that finally shows, not just the words we've all heard before, and at the moment, I am less convinced than ever that his transformation isn't just the right words paved slickly onto feel-good puff pieces. I want the Broncos to be a successful franchise -- of course we all do, that's why we pour so much passion into MHR. But when we question the "thug culture" in the NFL again, we must take a hard look at what we, as fans, are doing to encourage it.
As a fan, I don't want Marshall to be suspended -- of course he's a great player, we could use him. But if it will teach him that football can be taken away from him, if it will have any effect on him as a person, then I'll have to support the league in taking disciplinary measures against him. These guys are role models. Even if they never realise it.