Daryl Washington’s Fate Is A
Punch In The Face For Cards
The Player’s Past Actions Have Resulted In Drug And Domestic Violence Suspensions, And Even If He Is Becomes A Member Of The Squad In 2015, He Will Negatively Impact The Team And Society
By Wayne Schutsky
Modern Times Magazine
June 25, 2015 — The Arizona Cardinals’ squad for the upcoming season is rounding into shape, and one of the biggest questions still hanging over the offseason is the fate of Daryl Washington. The team has a need at inside linebacker, but the oft-troubled star likely won’t be filling it anytime soon due to an impending suspension.
After missing all of last season because of a suspension for a failed drug test, Washington is likely going to miss at least a third of this season serving a suspension stemming from a domestic violence issue in 2010 in which he eventually pled guilty to felony aggravated assault.
According to police, Washington shoved his ex-girlfriend and mother of his daughter during a custody argument, causing her to fall and break her collarbone.
While the NFL has yet to hand down an official punishment, Washington is optimistic he will return this season, according to Mike Jurecki of Fox 910 AM. Former Cardinals All-Pro safety Adrian Wilson told Jurecki earlier this year that he believes Washington will face a suspension of eight games or more.
No matter what the length the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell land on, one thing is certain: there will be critics.
On the one hand, you’ll see tone-deaf Cardinals fans voice their frustration with the commissioner for benching a player who can obviously help the team now. Watching these absurd souls come up with justifications for why a convicted felon should be allowed to play right away will be akin to watching some sort of bizarro real-world Saturday Night Live skit; except it won’t be funny because it will be real life.
On the other, we will hear from the chorus of detractors berating the league for taking it easy on players that commit domestic violence.
While I can sympathize with the latter group of people, I still think they’re off-base. Sure, the NFL deserves its fair share of criticism for going soft on domestic abusers (Ray Rice’s initial two-game suspension for assaulting his then-fiancee was absurd).
However, why are we as a society relying on the NFL, a sports league, to dole out punishment for offenders. If the guy who fixes my car robs a bank, I’m not going to ask the auto shop owner why he’s not immediately suspending the mechanic.
Instead of pointing fingers at the NFL and the easily-pointable Goodell, we should be taking the criminal justice system to task. That’s the entity that continually goes easy on professional athletes and fails to hold them accountable for their actions, thus sending the message that celebrities are immune to the law and can beat whomever they choose with relative immunity.
Take Washington’s case, for instance. He pled guilty to aggravated assault. The charge initially went unclassified, meaning it could have been reclassified as a misdemeanor if Washington behaved well or bumped to a felony if he behaved poorly.
The charge was ultimately dropped to a misdemeanor after Washington successfully served 10 months of probation (his probation was reduced to 10 months from an initial 12 month sentence). He also completed a 36-week domestic violence course. He could have faced up to 120 days in prison if he did not abide by his probation.
The sentence itself is not strange because Washington is a first time offender. First-time misdemeanor assault offenders generally receive probation rather than jail time, according to a post on the website of Tucson criminal defense law firm Charnesky & Dieglio.
However, the fact that Washington’s conviction was eventually designated a misdemeanor in the first place should give you pause. According to state law, misdemeanor assault should be elevated to felony aggravated assault due to several extenuating circumstances, including “If the person causes serious physical injury to another.”
Washington assaulted his ex-girlfriend. That assault led to a broken collarbone. In other words, it resulted in a serious physical injury. Yet, Washington ultimately received a misdemeanor charge. While the sentence was in line with precedent, the charge itself appears to be lenient.
And, Washington’s case is hardly rare.
Wayne Schutsky is a senior contributor to Modern Times Magazine.
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