Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett indicated this week that it will be the team’s stance that players charged with domestic violence will not play.
Part of what our jobs are as coaches is to create the right environment for our players to function both on and off the field,” Garrett said. “So we need to be clear about where we are. We need to be clear that we have a structure in place to help anybody who has any off-the-field issues.
“Me as a coach, position coaches, player programs, departments, we have a lot of resources here to help guys. So that was the first message, if you’re dealing with anything off the field and we can help with, we’re here for you. Having said that, there are standards that we have about all off-the-field behavior and certainly domestic violence applies to that. We’re just very clear with how we’re going to handle things.
Cowboys special teams ace C.J. Spillman has been accused of sexual assault in an alleged attack that took place at the team hotel prior to their Week 1 game against the San Francisco 49ers. Authorities are investigating the incident and no charges have been filed.
It remains to be seen if Spillman will suit up this week against the Houston Texans, but Garrett did indicate that he will remain with the team while the investigation plays out (via ESPN.com).
I think you have to be careful with just accusations and allegations in this situation,” Garrett said Thursday. “When someone is officially charged or arrested for something, that’s when it becomes a different situation in our minds. For now, he’s a member of our football team and will take part in everything we do to this point.
This type of nuance will be lost in the shuffle of the media attempting to point fingers at teams for playing individuals who have off-field issues they are dealing with. Spillman has yet to be charged. Once/if he is, things will most definitely change. But for now, all that he is facing is accusations from an unknown woman. Nothing more.
Now that the league is rightfully under the microscope of the general public after butchering the domestic violence issue over the past several months, teams are going to find themselves in difficult situations when a player is accused of wrongdoing off the field. While the best course of action would be to let the legal system play out and wait for a player to be charged, that’s a slippery slope at this time.
The San Francisco 49ers have been criticized in the media for playing defensive tackle Ray McDonald, who is being investigated for domestic violence in an incident that took place involving his fiancee back in August. But Garrett’s comments don’t necessarily point a finger at the 49ers, as McDonald is yet to be charged in that case.
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