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Buffalo Bills and the NFL Need to Take a Stand in Aaron Kromer Situation

Courtesy of USA Today Images

Buffalo Bills offensive line coach Aaron Kromer has 14 years of experience manning the sidelines in the NFL. Prior to joining the Bills this past off-season, he served as the Chicago Bears offensive coordinator. Before that, the veteran coach oversaw running backs with the New Orleans Saints and was an assistant for both the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Respected around league circles, it must have been stunning for colleagues to hear of Kromer’s arrest on misdemeanor battery charges over the weekend.

According to a statement released by the Walton County Sheriff’s Department in Florida, Kromer allegedly assaulted an underage boy before threatening to kill his family if he went to authorities. The shocking situation apparently stems from Kromer confronting three boys about the use of beach chairs early Sunday morning.

The specifics are pretty bad.

If it’s the NFL’s ultimate goal to protect the shield, as we have seen with its strong-armed approach for seemingly inconsequential violations of the substance abuse policy, the league needs to step up and show the public that it means business here. An allegedly violent attack on a minor initiated by a coach in the NFL needs to be given the same treatment as if Kromer were a player. Anything short of that would reek of a double standard we have seen far too often around the National Football League.

With training camp coming up in a few short weeks, there is no reason Kromer should be on the sideline coaching Bills players leading up to the season. While he is surely innocent until proven guilty in the court of law, the NFL exists under a guise unrelated to the larger American justice system. Even without a conviction here, the league should do the right thing and force Kromer from his role until more information comes out.

The NFL’s new personal conduct policy lays this out clearly. Kromer could very well be placed on administrative leave until the league’s investigation is complete.

Of course, the Bills also have a role here. They could suspend Kromer with pay until the case is settled. That would enable the NFL to refrain from getting involved in the matter. It would also keep the league office out of what could be an untimely controversy leading up to the 2015 season.

Anything short of this would be seen as yet another black eye for a league that has taken a major PR hit over the past year-plus. It would also set into motion gripes from the National Football League Players Association—gripes that would be more than justified.

Photo: USA Today Sports