Um, yeah. Hog Heaven is just as guilty as you of milking Lucky Whitehead’s arrest warrant for its humor.
We winced when we read the rest of the story. Shades of Sean Taylor!
The Virginia State Police arrested the sainted Redskins safety in an October 2004 incident. Taylor faced charges for DWI and for refusing a roadside breathalyzer test.
Sean was in his rookie season. Redskins fans were still making up our minds about him.
He was Joe Gibbs first Draft pick of the 21st-Century. Everyone today forgets their disappointment that the ‘Skins did not take a genuine defensive lineman like Tommy Harris or Vince Wilfork. (Sean is the poster child for drafting talent over need.)
Fans outside of Washington stereotyped Taylor as just another thug from “The U.” That narrative did not die even after Taylor was acquitted of the DWI charge nor later when the breathalyzer charge was dropped after the judge viewed police video of the arrest.
None of that stopped Colin Cowherd from making hurtful comments that Taylor’s supposed lifestyle contributed to his 2007 death. Cowherd expressed regret for his comments…in 2016.
Whitehead’s story resolved itself within 24-hours.
From the story on ESPN.com:
“The Prince William County [Virginia] Police Department said the man who was arrested didn’t have identification with him. He verbally provided the name, date of birth and Social Security number of Rodney Darnell Whitehead Jr. to police officers, who checked the information through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles database.”
The damage was done. The Cowboys cut Whitehead as an example to the rest of their bad boy team, sparing the need to cut Ezekiel Elliot or Dez Bryant to make the same point.
More people will forever tag Whitehead as a shoplifter than as s victim of identity theft. Somebody in Virginia knows his name, birthday and Social Security Number and has no reluctance to use them.
Taylor and Whitehead are parables about a rush to judgment. Presumption of innocence does not apply to the court of public opinion.