McMullen: Worley Exposes the Eagles’ Sliding-Scale
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Innocent until proven guilty.
That's the cornerstone of our entire legal system and the belief Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman espoused rather passionately back at the NFL's annual meeting in Orlando last month.
“In this country people are presumed innocent," Roseman explained. "I think we have to be fair about that and I don’t think it’s fair in any situation to not give people the right to present their side. I don’t want to get into this, but our overriding philosophy is people are innocent until proven guilty.”
Overriding philosophy, huh? Any situation?
Those comments were, of course, related to the indictment of three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Michael Bennett in Houston and the reasoning explained in them proved to be much more malleable less than 30 days later.
As a less-impactful player facing more concrete charges Daryl Worley's "day in court" lasted less than 12 hours from his embarrassing arrest a block away from the NovaCare Complex on DUI and weapons charges to his appearance on the league's waiver wire.
There would be no right to present his side, something that will start in the real world on May 1 at a preliminary hearing.
This is not to conflate the two situations because, to be blunt, the charges against Bennett for allegedly bowling over an elderly paraplegic security guard while mowing onto the field after Super Bowl LI seem trumped up at best and what Worley is accused of -- passing out in his car with an unlicensed firearm before fighting with police -- is egregious.
That lady on the balance is wearing a blindfold for a reason, however, and innocent until proven guilty applies to everyone, not just those you think are innocent or those who shape up to major contributors to a football team.
And "any situation" as Roseman claimed in Orlando by definition would include Worley and his transgressions.
Like most of their peers in the league, though, the Eagles' "Personal-Conduct Policy" is a sliding scale based on value and perception, not the foundation of our legal system despite the team's top football executive trying to lean on it when convenient.
This will ultimately all work out fine for Philadelphia because it's extremely unlikely Worley's trip through the actual legal system will vindicate him in any way while Bennett is almost certainly the target of overzealous prosecutors addicted to publicity.
The ends don't justify the means here, however, and two things were exposed early Sunday morning in South Philadelphia: the troubles of a 23-year-old kid who "loves the nightlife," according to those in the know in Carolina, along with the hypocrisy of the powerful people at One NovaCare Way.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen