This afternoon, the Detroit Lions signed tight end Andrew Quarless. Quarless, who played for the Packers for five seasons, will be suspended for the first two games of the 2016 NFL season from a July 2015 altercation where he shot his gun during an altercation outside of a Miami nightclub.
Quarless’s signing is a direct contradiction of new Lions GM Bob Quinn’s self-proclaimed “zero tolerance” policy with regards to signing players with a legal history of domestic violence or “dangerous weapons.” Here’s what he told the Detroit News in January:
“It’s a big point of emphasis, so that’s definitely going to be taken into account on every draft pick, every free agent signing that we take,” he said after his news conference Monday.
“The two things that are zero tolerance are domestic violence and dangerous weapons,” Quinn said. “Those are two things I’m not going to stand for, I don’t believe in. That’s how I feel.”
Quinn stood on those principles exactly as long as the Lions’ tight end depth held up, apparently. When pressed about the dissonance between what the team has said and what they have done, coach Jim Caldwell lapsed into some impressive doublespeak:
He gave some similar quotes about “second chances” to the Detroit News:
“I can only tell you this, and I don’t know how many times I’ve said it before, but I think it’s worth repeating, I certainly believe in second chances,” Caldwell said. “We do our due diligence and I think the young man is worth a second chance.
If Caldwell didn’t want to have to slimily offer platitudes about the value of forgiveness, maybe he and Quinn shouldn’t have gone out of their way to brand themselves as a no-nonsense organization. Quarless isn’t a star or anything, and his signing is probably not going to significantly impact the team’s fortunes this year. It’s clear that the Lions never really give a shit about the offenses of people they sought to banish. All the noise they made about zero tolerance was just marketing nonsense, apparently.