Hey Chicago, what’s your problem?
News broke this weekend that Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, with a BAC more than twice the legal limit.
With it continues a trend of NFC North rivals Green Bay and Minnesota, of off-season legal trouble. Though unlike the Packers and Vikings, whose trouble is player related, the recent developments in Detroit are equally troubling for a struggling franchise.
Minnesota’s defensive line may be a little thin for four games, this season or next, with an impending suspension for Kevin Williams and Pat Williams. Green Bay’s Johnny Jolly will likely face a suspension of his own, if not more career threatening legal trouble.
But it’s difficult to gage how Lewand’s arrest will affect the team in the immediate and long term future. A suspension would have little to do with how many wins the Lions manage in 2010. A fine from the NFL or the Lions front office would be pretty pointless.
The obvious concern with Lewand’s reckless behavior is that the NFL has taken a strong stance on holding their players to higher standards, with harsh punishments being handed out by commissioner Roger Goodell.
Front office members should be held to the same, and arguably a higher, standard than the players who take the field.
Lewand has to show the team that this behavior is not acceptable and use himself as an example. If he takes a more passive approach and doesn’t address the problem with the team, than the affects could be vast – though not very evident.
With an organization looking to drastically change the losing culture that has consumed the franchise for the past decade, something like this could possibly hinder that transformation.
In an offseason filled with positivity following an active free-agency period and an NFL Draft that netted the Lions dominant defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and speedy running back Jahvid Best, the last thing the team needed was to be brought back down to reality.
With a combined 2-30 record over the past two seasons, any negativity surrounding the team adds to the damage that has amounted over the course of the past decade.
The Lions could make an example out of Lewand of what not to do, or risk losing some respect and trust from the players in Detroit’s front office. Even if it’s just a little – every ounce of it counts when trying to right the ship of a distraught franchise, especially when the man at the helm is the one at fault.