Seriously, what the hell is this?
It’s fitting that a season marred by murder charges against one of the Patriots’ top tight ends could be salvaged in part by an undrafted wideout who was arrested seven times before his 19th birthday.
He's talking about Kenbrell Thompkins, a rookie wideout who has previously been arrested for armed robbery and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Thompkins caught eight passes for 116 yards in the Patriots' preseason game against the Lions last night. In Florio's world, that marks Thompkins as a potential fixture in the Patriots' receiving corps. Somehow, due to Aaron Hernandez's recent murder charge, this is "fitting." Is it fitting because it proves that the Patriots haven't learned any lessons about signing players with previous legal troubles? Or is it fitting because Thompkins stands in opposition to Hernandez, as some kind of redemption story? Let's let Florio try to explain:
Thompkins’ history fits the profile of the kind of player that the post-Hernandez Patriots may try to avoid. But the rookie’s potential performance, if coupled with good behavior, could make it harder for teams like the Patriots to know when to give a guy with a troubled past a chance to turn his life around, and when to avoid the player at all costs.
By all appearances, Thompkins has changed his life. Given their experience with Hernandez, the Patriots may be in much better position to draw a reliable line between guys who truly have separated from past troubles, and those like Hernandez who merely say all the right things.
So, "by all appearances"—whatever the fuck that means—Thompkins's story is one of redemption. Hurrah! However, if he does play well and stay out of trouble, he also might make it more difficult for the Patriots to avoid signing potential murderers in the future, which makes him yet another cautionary tale. What an enigma! How Florio managed to write those two paragraphs without swallowing his own tongue, I'll never know.
Let's try to simplify things for Mike: Football players are paid to play football. If they do that without murdering anyone or causing violent harm, that's cool. If they do murder people or cause violent harm, that's not cool. There are no real lessons to be learned from the ones who do murder and cause violent harm, and there is no real way to predict which ones will or will not murder and cause violent harm. Trying to draw any other conclusions just leads to snake-eating-its-own-tail-which-is-also-covered-in-dogshit columns like Florio's.