Another offseason weekend brought yet another Detroit Lions arrest. This time, it was another repeat offender. Aaron Berry, he of the recent DUI troubles, was busted in Pennsylvania for assault and brandishing a weapon. Monday, just as fast, Berry was dropped from the roster in the most important and prudent move of the Lions' offseason.
How many second chances are warranted? When would the line ever be drawn?
The time for the Lions to make a bold statement was now, and Berry, considered a key contributor heading into 2012, justly became the first sacrificial lamb of Detroit's offseason from hell. Just Friday, a deranged gunman killed 12 and injured 58 in a Colorado movie theater. A short time later, Berry, a professional athlete, found it acceptable to show off a gun in a divisive way despite vowing to be a changed man in light of his previous confrontation with the law.
That's irresponsibility to a tee. If not before, when would Berry ever learn?
The answer is apparently never. No matter what additional information might come out about the situation, it's abundantly clear that Berry was a liar. He lied to his teammates and coaches about his professional commitment level. He lied to the fans and the community whom he let down again. Worst of all, he lied to himself and his family. Now, ironically, Berry himself might end up being "broke and miserable," an insult he once taunted Lions' fans with. If that becomes his fate, he must lie in the bed he has made.
Circumstance dictated that Berry was never going to get the third chance Nick Fairly was allotted. After all, Fairley is a first round draft pick, and the Lions have time and money invested in him. Berry, an undrafted free agent, was the NFL's version of a walk-on. It was easy and just to use him to make a powerful statement, especially in light of his public doublespeak.
That doesn't mean the corporal punishment should stop after this incident, though. From now on, the Lions should govern their football team with the Berry doctrine. Any additional strikes and you're out, no matter who you are or what your standing. That includes Fairley, who's already walking a disciplinary tightrope and Mikel Leshoure, who is under close watch as well. If either one of those two act up again, they should be gone. If more Lions are arrested and then have additional run-ins with police, broom them immediately until the message is understood that stupidity is not tolerated.
Hopefully, this move sets the proper tone before the season begins. The lawless funny business that's gone on all offseason cannot happen, especially on the dawn of a new season when football seriousness must be at a premium. People make mistakes, but not immediately after they publicly promise to correct them. That shows a lack of care and commitment to nothing but irresponsibility.
When Berry left Twitter earlier this offseason to apparently get more serious about his game, I applauded that good decision. Despite that, spending free time drinking and threatening physical harm on others is not a way to compensate for avoiding social media. Shame on him for being a juvenile fool. Hopefully, at the most, Berry is able to turn his life around and become a productive member of society in some capacity.
If he tells you he's serious about doing so, however, don't immediately believe him. The Lions organization made that mistake once, and took yet another offseason credibility hit. Monday's decision hopefully will work to restore order and rebuild seriousness.
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