City Desk

Hey, Skins Fans: It’s Not Like Williams and Davis Choked Their Wives Dead on a Couch

In between stoner jokes, Redskins fans and some media are making "character" the big issue in the Fred Davis/Trent Williams situation.

This kills me. One of my lifelong friends recently happened upon a huge bong in the possession of his college-going son, a fabulous kid who he'd never known to smoke pot. I was very impressed at how angry my buddy got at his boy and why: Not at all because he had a bong in the house, but because he left it out. He's a couple years younger than Davis and Williams, and if anybody's gonna get mad at these guys for getting caught with dirty pee pee, stupidity seems to be the only offense worth harping on.

The Great Dan Steinberg had an awesome post yesterday mocking those now playing the "character" card. The bogger retells the tales of many of the Redskins arrested for more serious and dangerous malfeasances when the team was headed by Joe Gibbs and, to hear today's fans tell it, the organization was allegedly all about "character."

Back to me: Steinberg's post got me thinking about a story I did back in 2001, a retrospective on all the no-goodnicks the Redskins brought in in just one year during the allegedly saintly Gibbs years, via the 1985 NFL Draft.

Scads of character guys taken in that same draft found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Tight end Terry Orr got sent to prison for bilking former teammates, including Art Monk, Brian Mitchell, and Raleigh McKenzie (another member of the Redskins' '85 draft class), out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in an elaborate con scheme.

Pro Bowl defensive back Barry Wilburn was arrested around the same time as Orr got locked up, after D.C. cops ran him down near Dupont Circle for allegedly committing armed robbery on pedestrians.Wilburn had previously been popped by the NFL for cocaine and by Fairfax County police for driving drunk and subsequently driving with a suspended license.

It didn't make it into my column, but Dean Hamel, a defensive tackle, got arrested in 1986 at Rocco's, a nightspot owned by fellow Skin Curtis Jordan. The AP's account of Hamel's alleged dirty deed said he was put in custody after being "accused of punching a woman, identified only as 'Stacey' by Fairfax City police." The alleged punchee claimed her jaw was broken by the DT's fist.

But the real evil doer of the Crass of '85 turned out to be Raphel Cherry, a college quarterback at Hawaii who the Redskins drafted in hopes of converting him to a safety.

That didn't work out. Neither did Cherry's marriage. In December 1998, Jerri Harris Cherry was found dead on her couch in Jacksonville, Ark. The courts found she'd been choked to death by husband Raphel Cherry shortly after serving him with divorce papers.

Good god.

Now can we get back to talking about two guys busted for weed, please?

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  • Wrack

    Great post!

  • deedle

    I'm curious about your take on the NY Times Boogerd hockey enforcer and his brain damage. I remember a piece you wrote about Donald Brashear.

  • Jim Ed

    Perhaps I'm missing the fan reaction you're alluding to(I avoid extremeskins and other like minded places like the plague), but I don't think the "character" issues have to do with the fact that they were smoking pot. Rather, it's the fact that they had to fail at least 3 tests for pot to warrant suspension, and the almost unimaginable stupidity it takes to do that.

    I doubt that many skins fans care that these guys smoke pot in their private time, and the fact that the NFL even tests for marijuana since it has no real bearing on on-field performance is an entirely different issue altogether. What IS a concern is that one guy who already has a ton of money invested in him and another guy who could potentially get a ton of money invested in him by the team could be so careless within the framework of current NFL rules. Correct me if I'm wrong, but any more positives for either guy would mean a mandatory one year suspension, and I've never heard of NFL teams getting any kind of Salary Cap waiver for suspended players. The character issue boils down to this: Davis and Williams are either too stupid or too lazy to figure out how to hide their toking(because there is no way they're the only two players who spent their mandatory football vacations blazing L's), and it could really screw the team in their current attempt at rebuilding. Or may be it's just me that feels that way.

    Also, anyone who thinks that drafting "high character" guys is a way to win prbably thinks Tim Tebow should be a Pro Bowler.

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