[This is an excerpt from the Yahoo Sports’ Read and React Newsletter. Subscribe here]
Welcome to Week 2, everybody! Hope your fantasy team hasn’t already detonated.
So the question of the weekend is this: Should Antonio Brown play Sunday? It’s a straightforward question with anything but an easy answer, since it pits the NFL’s public image against, well … the entire American judicial system.
As bad as the allegations a former trainer is leveling against the newly-minted Patriot are, it has to be noted that Brown’s facing a civil suit, not a criminal suit, and the difference between the two is massive.
The hurdles to file a criminal suit against an individual are high. There’s an arrest report and prosecutors and judges and grand juries, all of which play a role in determining if charges should be brought.
The hurdles for filing a civil suit are … nada. Anyone can file one. The only thing you need is the desire to file a complaint to a court. That’s it.
This isn’t to say the suit filed against AB is frivolous. But it is to say putting him on the Commissioner’s Exempt List (basically suspending him with pay) would set a precedent that civil suits warrant the commissioner’s attention before allowing a player back on the field.
This is where Roger Goodell is now, tacking on “criminal investigator” as part of his job description. And if he decides to add civil suits to his jurisdiction, he’s essentially vowing to police and prosecute alleged incidents that not even actual police and/or prosecutors are investigating.
So what’s the NFL to do? On the one hand, six days is hardly enough time to conduct a thorough investigation. On the other, we’re talking about a very serious allegation for a league that’s trying to show it’s tough on abusive behavior. It’s the presumption of one player’s innocence vs. the preservation (or rehabilitation) of a league’s reputation. Which way should the NFL go? Let us know your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. (By Jay Hart)
ow, let's run down five storylines to watch on Sunday so you can get the jump on your weekend:
NFC championship, version 2.0
The Saints travel to Los Angeles to play the Rams, who vanquished New Orleans in the playoffs with the help of some less-than-observant refs. This won't just be a revenge game, it might be the best game on the week's slate.
Patriots meet NFL's version of Impossible Burger in Miami
Look, the Miami Dolphins are terrible, and will be all year. So it's almost like kicking over a kid's birthday cake to send the Patriots in there this weekend. It doesn't matter if AB plays. Hell, the Pats could win this one with eight men on the field. This will be ugly.
Heisman showdown in Baltimore
Who would've thought that a Baltimore-Arizona Week 2 game would be must-watch? But when you've got two of the last three Heisman Trophy winners at QB, and both had strong Week 1s, this dog suddenly takes flight. Or something like that.
Minshew's Big Day
Gardner Minshew, he of the mustache and the air-raid arm, gets his first NFL start on Sunday for Jacksonville in place of the injured Nick Foles. His reward? J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans. Don't stand still, Gardner. Not even on the sidelines.
Battle of the Birds closes out Sunday
Yeah, it's early in the season, but less than 13 percent of teams that start 0-2 make the playoffs. That's the challenge facing the Falcons Sunday night. Their opponent? The Eagles, who have won the last three meetings. Enjoy Sunday, friends! See you back here Monday with new tales to tell. (By Jay Busbee)
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