New Lions' head coach Jim Caldwell has certainly preached all the right things so far this season to the players. Practice hard, study hard, keep your nose clean, act like the professionals you are and, most importantly, everyone will be held accountable for his actions -- on and off the field. Perhaps a cross between Mother Teresa and Wyatt Earp, by god he was going to clean this mess up once and for all. A model of virtue and a straight-shooting guy. Unlike his predecessor Jim Schwartz, who seemed to not only condone mayhem but actually participate in it himself -- Caldwell was supposed to be a steadying influence. A pro's pro.
But then he finally blinked and showed himself to be less than, shall we say, above reproach. In other words, Caldwell has a dark side.
Like cops and partisan politicians, he can preach truth, justice, and the so-called American way, but when a culprit is one of their own, they definitely have a way of closing their ranks to protect him. We see it all the time, and it goes so far as to them spinning the obvious evidence and even sometimes outright lies. They will fight, fight, fight to do the right thing -- and everybody should be treated equally -- until and/or unless the perpetrator is a member of their own clan. Then all the rules seem to go out the window. There's really no other way to define it short of flat-out hypocrisy.
Enter the latest episode with Lions' center Dominic Raiola. He stomped on the back of the leg of fallen Chicago Bear Ego Ferguson. The tape doesn't lie. It was willful, intentional, and certainly malicious. Luckily, Ferguson wasn't seriously injured.
Incredibly, after the game Raiola said it was an accident. Any objective person who has seen the video obviously knows better. Such a statement is a slap in the face to the league, the teams, the fans, and the media. Cops and politicians aside, pull such a stunt in real life and one is going to jail on assault charges. The video would be enough to convince any jury to render a guilty verdict.
[For his latest act of thuggery (which I'll delve into in my next post) Raiola was suspended for 1 game, though the typical penalty for such a cheap shot is 2 games. He got off lightly.]
Nonetheless, Caldwell was going to have to weigh in on his thoughts involving the "incident". He did, and thereby showed his dark side. Turns out, Jimbo isn't quite the model of virtue he has sold himself as over the season.
Raiola would tell his coach the stomp was "inadvertent". An accident. Whether such an outrageous statement was said with a straight face or a wink was involved, we will never know.
But we DO know that, at least on the record, Caldwell bought it. The man is either a fool or thinks we are. It brings to mind partial lyrics from an old classic song....
Stand by your man, and show the world you love him
Keep giving all the love you can
Stand by your man
Tammy Wynette would be so proud of Jim Caldwell. But this is 2014 in the NFL, not 1968 in the country music world. Everything is captured on video.
And Jim Caldwell has just shown himself to be a hypocrite.