Marshall's non-response was the right play
October, 28, 2013
By Michael C. Wright | ESPN.com
Considering Brandon Marshall is one of the NFL’s elite receivers, his peripheral vision probably works better than most. So when Marshall ran out of the brisk cold air at the practice fields on his way to the doors leading into Halas Hall, surely he saw more than a dozen cameramen and reporters scrambling his direction.
Typically when Marshall wants to talk, he stops. Not this time. He knew what was about to be asked, and made the right decision in declining to address irrelevant commentary from a peer.
Not long before Chicago’s practice came to a close on Monday, Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather -- fresh off serving a one-game suspension for vicious hits, including two against the Bears on Oct. 20 -- fired off an attack on Marshall’s personal life when asked to respond to comments made by the receiver in the aftermath of that game.
“Guys like that, maybe he needs to get suspended or taken out of the game completely,” Marshall said of Meriweather, after the safety smashed him in the end zone during Washington’s 45-41 win against the Bears, which drew a 15-yard penalty and played a part in the suspension. Then, on Monday, Meriweather took the back-and-forth to another level.
“He feels like I need to be kicked out of the league. I feel like people who beat their girlfriends should be kicked out of the league, too," Meriweather said. "You tell me who you'd rather have? Someone who plays aggressive on the field or someone who beat up their girlfriend?"
In addition to taking aim at Marshall’s personal life, Meriweather openly discussed ending careers to avoid discipline from the league for helmet-to-helmet hits, which have gotten him fined on multiple occasions.
“I guess I just got to take people’s knees out,” Meriweather said. “That’s the only way. I would hate to end a guy’s career over a rule, but I guess it’s better other people than me getting suspended for longer. You just have to go low now, man. You've got to end people's careers. You got to tear people's ACLS and mess up people's knees. You can't hit them high anymore."
Obviously, Marshall’s past is significant here. But in this situation, Meriweather shouldn’t be attacking Marshall personally, because one thing (the illegal hits) has absolutely nothing to do with the other (the receiver’s past).
Marshall has been arrested multiple times for alleged domestic violence, and I certainly don’t condone a man putting his hands on a woman in that fashion. But in every instance, either no charges were filed, or they were subsequently dropped.
Back in 2012, a judge dismissed a civil suit filed by a former girlfriend accusing Marshall of abuse. Three years prior, a jury found Marshall not guilty of misdemeanor battery charges stemming from incidents involving that same woman.
On Monday, Marshall -- apparently informed of Meriweather’s remarks -- posted on Twitter:
There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing #MachineMarshall— Machine Marshall (@BMarshall) October 28, 2013
But by saying nothing in response to someone openly discussing ending careers on one hand, while making personal attacks on the other, was the right thing to do. Besides, Marshall has more important things to worry about at this point like how to help the Bears find a way to beat the Green Bay Packers on Monday night without Jay Cutler under center.