The Indianapolis Colts learned yesterday that their owner, Jim Irsay would be charged with multiple misdemeanors following his arrest earlier this offseason. He himself said that he was fortunate not to be charged with a felony.
Later in the day, the Denver Broncos director of player personnel, Matt Russell, received his sentencing, which includes a seven-month prison sentence to go along with two years of probation stemming from a DUI arrest with an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns, attempting to smother the life and enthusiasm out of their new first-round quarterback by placing a gag order on him and drilling into his head the fact that he is a backup, had a bit of a stir when a hoax lawsuit was filed against him in Florida accusing him sexual misconduct. It seems that Johnny Manziel will be a headline no matter what the Browns try to do.
Finally, we had Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice hold a press conference in order to publicly express his apologies and regret over the domestic violence issue earlier this offseason that left his then-fiancée knocked unconscious.
In the process of making the point that while he has fallen short, he would come back stronger, he crudely used a violent analogy of a fighter only failing not when he gets knocked down, but when he chooses not to get back up.
The irony of the statement also escaped the organization’s social media team, which promptly Tweeted his remarks, along with the remarks of Rice’ fiancée, who apologized for the role that she played in the incident that left her unconscious.
Which, admittedly, isn’t quite getting somebody to apologize for being in the way of your gun blast, but as far as public relations go, still looks bad when the person you’re apologizing to is seen on a security camera dragging your motionless body out of an elevator.
These are just a handful of the more absurd headlines that teams around the league are facing as we head into the holiday weekend, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are quite thankful that their team is not among those facing controversy.
They have certainly faced their fair share in recent years, from having their quarterback accused of rape, to their star receiver holding out and not signing his free agent tender, to being the target of a league crackdown on hits on defenseless players, among other minor locker room controversies of a he-said-she-said variety.
Mercifully, the attention in Pittsburgh this summer is focused where it should be: on football, and excitement for the upcoming season.
The Steelers have injected quite a bit of youth over the past couple seasons, and even made a splash during free agency this year, to help turn around a roster that finished the last two seasons with a .500 record and a spot on the couch for the playoffs.
Of course, while it’s nice to be free from controversy and media scrutiny, it doesn’t necessarily help your team focus any more, and it certainly doesn’t make anybody a better football player. The Steelers are hoping to sail under the radar this season as they look to rebound and return to the playoffs for the first time since 2011.