My take on the Jerramy Stevens situation
All the talk in the past 48 hours in the Bay Area has been about the re-signing of Jerramy Stevens following the report in a Seattle newspaper about some legal issues he faced during his high school and college years. All of the actual details are in John Romano's column which we have on BUCPOWER but seeing as how everyone else has made their opinions known on the subject, time for me to weigh in as well.
Player conduct in the NFL has become a hot topic under Commissioner Roger Goodell and rightly so. Too often in the past, transgressors and law breakers have been allowed to continue plying their trade in the NFL simply because they could play the game. It was if they had carte blanche to do what they wanted.
And I have been critical of the Bucs in the past for two such signings, in 2004 when Darrell Russell was signed, and then further back in 1991 when Dexter Manley became a Buccaneer. To me, that last signing was the low point in franchise history.
Jerramy Stevens is no angel or saint and yes he will face a two-game suspension under NFL rules at the start of the 2008 season. He has been punished for his actions according to the rules in play at the time.
But the Seattle paper report has so many grey areas, assumptions and innuendos, that you simply cannot take it as a credible piece of evidence for action. Some local radio hosts in Tampa (naturally Dumb and Dumber) have been laying into Stevens with both barrels and have been flirting on the fence of slander with some of their comments.
They are doing this for ratings reasons only and nothing else. Remember, Ian Beckles is the man who said on air, that it is OK for mothers to sell crack cocaine to feed their kids,
Check out the quotes in Joe Henderson's piece today from the likes of Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber. Two men of untouchable character and neither of them have a problem with Jerramy Stevens being on the team. The Bucs, like every other NFL team, really do their homework on players these days and they are OK with it.
Do I wish Jerramy Stevens was a better person? Yes I do. Am I OK with him being a Buccaneer? Yes I am because I trust the judgement of the people who are in the know and making the decisions for the franchise. Not print journalists and radio morons who have their own agendas in life.
Paul Stewart, June 2008