I don’t know how the rest of you feel about Marcus Benard and all he went through (put himself through) over the last few days. Certainly it was a race to get all the details as quickly as possible in the local media. John Telich ran ahead of the pack on that one like it was a double marathon trail run that he so diligently trains for. But after the details are all known and after the Browns put him on the IR it strikes me as odd with some of the angry, punitive reactions toward Benard.
I understand a feeling of disappointment that someone that the team and its fans were counting on would put himself and his career at risk. There is certainly a part of me that looks at his actions on some level as potentially being irresponsible, immature and yes, possibly even stupid. Still, I would tend to avoid calling it stupid because it just seems harsh. It seems like adding insult to injury with no net benefit to anyone.
A friend of mine seemed particularly hot and bothered by it yesterday and wanted the Browns to make an example of Marcus Benard by cutting him. Something about that just didn’t seem quite right to me. I think the Browns could potentially be within their rights to cut bait, but there is a part of me that believes in organizations maintaining some level of fairness and compassion.
The current Browns front office wasn’t here when Kellen Winslow crashed his motorcycle, but we’ve seen this scenario play out around the league when the player is higher profile. The Steelers didn’t cut Ben Roethlisberger just like the Browns didn’t cut Kellen Winslow because both organizations hoped that they would still be able to get something from the players. Just because a situation arises with a player who isn’t on the same level doesn’t mean to me that an organization should be so callous as to use it as an opportunity to make some kind of example of him. When it is a guy like Marcus Benard on a one-year contract for about $500,000 after leading the team in sacks, it seems more mean-spirited and punitive than serving as a cautionary tale to others in the locker room.
If you wouldn’t make an example of Ben Roethlisberger or Kellen Winslow, what message are you really sending when you make one of Marcus Benard?
Honestly, does this need to end in the Browns cutting Benard to become some kind of teachable moment for the Browns staff and players? Benard had a lot to play for this year on a one-year deal. Now he faces an even more uncertain future considering the lost opportunity to prove he deserves his next contract. Now there is additional haziness at that prospect due to the injuries sustained in the motorcycle crash. NFL players only get so many chances to cash in in this league. Marcus Benard potentially could have just cost himself a biggie at age 26.
It seems like punishment enough and enough of a cautionary tale that nobody really has to do much of anything else. People make mistakes. Yes, people do stupid things sometimes. Sometimes the effects of the mistake serve as enough of a self-imposed punishment that you just let it sit there and hope for a guy’s well-being.
At least that’s how I feel about it. Are any of you legitimately angry about it? Can you make me understand why and to what ends?