Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lions smart for giving Berry the boot

Aaron Berry and my high school buddy, Danny.
There’s something very familiar about their situations.
Aaron Berry played in the NFL. Danny played high school basketball.
Aaron Berry got busted twice in the last month.
Berry was charged with three counts of simple assault for allegedly pointing a gun at three people from a car. This happened less than one full day after Berry entered a diversion program for first-time offenders, based on a DUI arrest that happened after witnesses saw his BMW hit two parked cars.
Under the agreement, Berry was to perform 20-40 hours of community service in a six-month period and submit to an alcohol evaluation.

Aaron Berry in happier times with the Detroit Lions.

On Monday, Detroit Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew announced that the team had terminated the contract of Aaron Berry due to personal conduct which adversely affects the club," the team said in a statement.
"'We have repeatedly stressed to everyone in our organization that there will be appropriate consequences when an expected standard of behavior is not upheld,' Lions President Tom Lewand said."
Berry's second arrest of the offseason was the seventh overall of a Lions player in the last few months. Defensive tackle Nick Fairley has been busted for DUI and marijuana possession in two separate incidents, running back Mikel Leshoure has two pot busts of his own, and offensive lineman Johnny Culbreath has one marijuana possession arrest of his own.
Danny missed the bus in 1970 on our way to a game in Livonia.
Aaron Berry got booted off the team. Danny should’ve been booted from the team.
Jim Schwartz talked to the team’s veterans who told the coach to get rid of Berry. The high school coach asked the other players if he should get rid of Danny.
Only one had the courage to say yes. That was my brother, Bill.
Danny had missed the bus. Danny had missed the bus because school had been cancelled that day due to a snowstorm. Members of the team converged on Elvis Saputo’s house where plenty of drinking ensued.
There was a game that night. A few of the players did not care. Danny was one of them.
So Danny stayed on the team. We wound up winning just a handful of games that year. There's a corollary there.
I blame it on the coach who didn’t have enough courage to boot Danny off the team himself. I blame it on myself for voting to let Danny stay. I certainly do not blame it on my brother, Bill.
At some point, rules have to be applied. If they do not apply, why bother having any rules at all? They weren’t applied to Danny. They weren’t applied to Aaron Berry, at least not the first time he got busted in a month.
Thankfully, Schwartz booted him after he was accused of brandishing a gun during an altercation.
The team is better off because of it. Believe me, I know.


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