Perhaps it’s the feeling of invincibility an organization gets when it’s won a Super Bowl. The afterglow, as fresh as it is, probably doesn’t lead to a lot of scrutiny from within. Fuck, the Astros did it, even before they won a World Series, and then a couple years later didn’t see a problem picking up Robert Osuna. The Cubs and Aroldis Chapman. The continuing Blackhawks lawsuit is something of that. Being near or fresh off a championship sends the fans and media into such a sycophantic frenzy that teams probably feel like they can do just about anything and they do.
You have to remind yourself now that the Bucs still have Antonio Brown on the roster, and did when they won February’s Super Bowl, and tried to sell it to us through the empty grin of Tom Brady. But hey, flags fly forever, and no one in Tampa thinks much about it.
They appear to be on the same path again by at least sounding out Richard Sherman. Sherman is a different case, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good one. Details are still murky on what went on with him at his in-laws home in July when he was arrested and charged with five misdemeanors, including two domestic violence counts — criminal trespass in the second degree and malicious mischief in the third degree — along with resisting arrest, driving under the influence and reckless endangerment of roadway workers. Sherman pleaded not guilty to the charges.
You can’t make the case as binary as either Sherman was allegedly terrorizing his wife’s family, as well as using the threat of suicide as a weapon, which a lot of domestic abusers do, or he’s genuinely ill and needs help. But wherever within those two bookends Sherman falls, it doesn’t speak to someone who should be playing football right now.
Of course, Bruce Arians isn’t here to take any responsibility, dumping it all on his boss, GM Jason Licht. Which is essentially what he did with Brown, spending months saying that Brown wouldn’t join the Bucs and when he did, kind of shrugging his shoulders. Don’t pull a muscle taking a stand there, Brucey. Arians saying “[Sherman’s] got other things going on,” is about the lightest way you can put it, and certainly being that vague makes it clear that Arians has about as much interest in discussing the details as he does quantum theory.
It’s not the Bucs’ job to help Sherman with whatever he’s dealing with, as he was never their employee. But it’s certainly on them to make sure he’s not in any more danger, which being on a football field certainly qualifies as. But that’s not as important as covering for their injuries in the secondary, and you can bet that FOX and ESPN can’t wait to paint this as some sort of redemption story, no matter how Sherman’s legal matters turn out. It’s more digestible swill they’re comfortable peddling.