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Zero hour

Sports blotter: "Credit where credit's due" edition
By MATT TAIBBI  |  September 17, 2008


Weeded out
Everyone knows there is a double-standard in the NFL when it comes to arrests: if a good player gets arrested for serious crimes, the front office inevitably talks about wanting to take its time with its internal investigation, that it would like to “let the justice system run its course,” and that it tries whenever possible to support players in their time of need, as one would support a member of one’s family.

But when a crappy player gets arrested for a serious, or even for an un-serious crime, that is when the front offices get tough. That’s when it starts braying about “zero tolerance” policies and making sure the players are good citizens, as well as good on-field performers, about sending the proper message to the kids, yada yada yada.

Thus it is somewhat surprising to see the Indianapolis Colts — a franchise we’d all like to hate around here, if we weren’t so busy mourning Tom Brady’s knee — hold a firm line this past week. Ed Johnson, a starting defensive tackle at a position where the Colts are perilously thin, got busted this past Wednesday for speeding and weed possession, and was axed by the team fewer than 24 hours later.

Johnson was a character flag in college and apparently was given a shot by the Colts only on the condition that he sign up for a zero-tolerance type of arrangement. He blew it and they pulled the trigger, despite the fact that the Colts in Week 1 were unable to stop a Chicago Bears offense whose best player is probably a middling rookie running back named Matt Forte. (That would be like the Patriots releasing Ellis Hobbs for jaywalking.) Hard to say if the reasoning is sound — one would think that 300-pound men should be able to smoke weed if they need to, to keep calm — but it sure is a remarkable decision, one that not a lot of teams would make. So we’re giving credit where credit is due.

Interestingly enough, one of Johnson’s backups, tackle Darrell Reid, was busted on weed charges in 2007. The team kept him on board, but then Reid didn’t have any strikes against him at the time.

Give Johnson three points for potentially blowing his career over a joint. We’ll see how long he stays unemployed — the guess here is that it won’t be long.

Well, that's weird
Strange, strange story coming out of Long Island, where onetime New York Giants wide receiver Mark Ingram continues to be one of the most dependable performers in all of retired-athlete crime.

An arrest warrant was issued September 5 for Ingram after he failed for a third time to appear for sentencing on charges of bank fraud and money laundering. Ingram pleaded guilty in 2005 to charges of laundering about $200,000 in drug-deal proceeds and cashing counterfeit checks totaling some $300,000.

Since then, however, Ingram has fired three different court-appointed attorneys and attempted to get his plea reversed. In one filing from this past May that prosecutors described as “rambling, confusing, outlandish, and largely incoherent,” Ingram claimed that he is immune from prosecution because of his status as — get this! — a diplomatic head of state.

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Related: Bad idea jeans, Hello, old friend, Blount's blunts, More more >
  Topics: Sports , Sports, Major League Baseball, National Football Conference,  More more >
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