Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather, back Monday from a weeklong suspension following a pair of dirty hits against the Chicago Bears, apparently did not learn the meaning of contrition during his personal time off.
Meriweather went off to the Washington media Monday per the Washington Times, responding to the words of Bears receiver Brandon Marshall, who said Meriweather ought to be "taken out of the game completely" for the safety's long history of questionable hits. Marshall was one of the recipients of a Meriweather hit in Week 7 that saw him get penalized and later suspended for it.
“Everybody got their opinion,” Meriweather said. “He feel like I need to be kicked out of the league? You know, I feel like people who beat their girlfriends should be kicked out the league, too. So, you tell me who you’d rather have: Somebody who play aggressive on the field, or somebody who beat up their girlfriend? You know, everybody got their opinion, so that’s mine, that’s his.”
Meriweather is talking about Marshall's alleged 2006 incident in which police were called to his house, where he and his girlfriend had an altercation. Marshall was cited for several more incidents in 2007 and 2008 involving the same woman. The civil suit that came from the incidents was dropped in 2012.
But Meriweather wasn't done firing bolts. Now back after having his suspension reduced from two games to one, Meriweather said he plans to alter his plan of attack on the field. Having been fined multiple times — and now suspended — for hits to the head and neck area, Meriweather now says he'll aim low. As in at players' knees.
“To be honest, man, you’ve just got to go low now, man,” Meriweather said. “You’ve got to end people’s careers, you know? 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.”
This should go over pretty well with the league and Meriweather's coaches. Not to mention opponents. Ask Bears tight end Martellus Bennett what he thinks of Meriweather now.
Meriweather was lucky that league arbitrator Ted Cottrell, a former NFL defensive coordinator, went soft on him. What Meriweather has displayed consistently throughout his career is a wanton mercenary style, clearly showing no regard for his opponents' health. And now he's threatening to take out their knees and jeopardize their careers.
See if Randall Cobb or Dustin Keller, victims of low hits this season that inflicted serious damage, think Meriweather has a leg to stand on with this argument.
Frankly, Meriweather should have been shut down for the remainder of the season for his repeated hits, and now his comments are proof of that. Fines do not dismay him. He joked after the Bears game about needing meal money. The one game suspension, a 45-21 Redskins loss to the Denver Broncos, clearly had no effect on him.
This is patterned, dangerous behavior. Meriweather's coaches can't change his spots, despite Jim Haslett saying his safety needs to change his ways. Neither can a wrist-slap fine, or a short suspension. The only way to send a message to him, heard by the rest of the NFL, is to take away his playing privileges for the season. That's it.
If Michael Vick can lose two-plus seasons for dog fighting, then Meriweather can lose nine games. If scores of past players can lose an entire year for substance abuse — a somewhat victimless crime — as was more common in the 1980s and 90s, then Meriwweather can pay nine game checks for taking out players and threatening to take out more.
To me, this is a personal conduct issue, and the NFL has rules for this. And if the league offices won't do it, then the Redskins should do the right thing and cut Meriweather this week. The CBA allows for it, and frankly there will be pressure from a dozen sources to do just that.
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