As everyone knows, Steelers kicker Jeff Reed was arrested during an altercation with police. If you’re thinking “have I seen this movie before?” you’re in good company as just under a year ago Steelers starting wide receiver Santonio Holmes was arrested for marijuana possession.
Mike Tomlin promptly suspended Holmes for one game, a game that saw the Steelers face off against their toughest NFC opponent, the New York Giants.
Once again the Steelers are set to take on their toughest NFC opponent, the Minnesota Vikings this week, but unlike last year, Mike Tomlin is not suspending Reed.
Double Standard? Perhaps, but if there is one it is not as readily apparent as it seems.
Mike Tomlin’s explanation, that Reed’s incident occurred on a Monday whereas Holmes occurred on a Thursday, thereby giving him more time to deal with Reed might be the truth in Tomlin’s eyes, but it certainly rings hollow in other circles.
But there is a basic difference between the two men’s situations. (Unlike the 2008 off season domestic violence incidents involving James Harrison and Cedric Wilson).
Santonio Holmes was caught with marijuana in his car by a police officer conducting a legal search. There are a lot of different opinions in society about whether marijuana should be illegal and if so how strictly any prohibition should be enforced. Reasonable people can differ over that issue, but one thing is beyond dispute: Holmes was had it, and it is against the law.
Reed’s case is different. The police argue that Reed was intoxicated and threatened officers.
Reed and his agent vigorously dispute that, contending the Reed merely got out of the car driven to plead with officers who were issuing a citation to Matt Spaeth for public urination.
Jeff Reed’s past history certainly weakens his case, but ample precedent exists of over zealous police officers going too far in situations like that.
Santonio Holmes situation was cut and dried. Reed’s situation is nebulous.
Given those differences, Tomlin’s decision to play Reed is understandable if not also justified, even if his explanations will understandably fail to satisfy some skeptics.