Monday, June 28, 2010
BBAO: Lewand fallout in Detroit
By Kevin Seifert
We're Black and Blue All Over:
Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand is subject to the NFL's personal conduct policy as a result of Friday's arrest on suspicion of drunken driving, but at this point he is not in danger of losing his job.
That's the upshot following Lewand's arrest after a charity golf tournament late Friday night. Lewand issued a statement Saturday apologizing for the incident and noting he is in "active recovery" from an unspecified problem. An NFL spokesman reiterated to John Niyo of the Detroit News that the league's conduct policy applies to all employees, raising the possibility Lewand could be fined or suspended by the league.
But as far as his standing with the team, owner William Clay Ford issued a statement of full support Sunday, according to the News. A portion of it read: "I continue to have full confidence that Tom will positively lead our organization as he has since assuming his current role of team president." Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com appropriately read that statement as confirmation that Lewand won't be fired.
From a public perspective, this situation is relatively unique. Lewand has an important role in the Lions organization, but his impact on the football side is limited to contract negotiations and financial management. General manager Martin Mayhew and coach Jim Schwartz run football operations, the area most fans are interested in.
Still, Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press thinks Lewand shouldn't get a public pass:
The NFL must conduct an investigation into the specifics surrounding Tom Lewand's drunken driving arrest. If guilty, Lewand, the Lions' president, should face strong disciplinary action because the ever-image-conscious league cannot afford such recklessness from its chief executives -- especially after demanding a much higher standard of decorum from its players. If commissioner Roger Goodell looks the other way, he's a hypocrite.
Continuing around the NFC North after an otherwise quiet weekend:
- Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times conducts a Q&A with Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith, who said: "You want to go into the football season with the best possible group you can, and that's what I think we have. It's not what I think we have -- that's what we have."
- San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore discusses Mike Martz's offense with Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.
- The Green Bay Packers' punting competition will be decided in preseason games, writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
- Pete Dougherty of the Press-Gazette breaks down the Packers' roster as the offseason concludes, suggesting cornerback Jarrett Bush has an "uphill battle" to make the team and that rookie free agent Sam Shields looks "raw' catching punts.
- Cornerback Lito Sheppard is looking like the Minnesota Vikings' likely starter opposite Antoine Winfield as Cedric Griffin recovers from knee surgery, notes Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.