The Lions – The New Bad Boys of Detroit

Nick Fairley’s mugshot from his DUI arrest over the holiday weekend.

The Detroit Pistons of the late 80s used a bruising style of play that lead them to a string of long playoff runs, plus back-to-back titles during their heyday. This lead to them being labeled as “The Bad Boys” of the NBA.

A new crop Detroit athletes are earning the moniker of “Bad Boys” for all the wrong reasons.

The Detroit Lions offseason has been marred by multiple instances of questionable and bone-headed decision making by some of their players. Here’s a brief recap of their mishaps:

  • Nick Fairley: Fairley was arrested on April 3rd in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama for marijuana possession. He followed that up with a DUI arrest on May 27th. He was also cited for reckless driving (driving 100MPH) and attempting to evade officers. Fairley also had an open container of alcohol in his vehicle plus no proof of vehicle insurance.
  • Mikel Leshoure: Arrested twice in one month span (February 18th & March 12th) on marijuana charges
  • Titus Young: Sucker punched teammate and starting safety Louis Delmas after a heated argument during a workout session. Young was barred from Lions’ facilities for an extended period and only recently allowed to return.

The fact is, all of these players were drafted with the Lions front office knowing the red flags they brought with them. NFL.com’s Albert Breer did an excellent job of summing up the issues the Lions brought upon themselves:

Be assured, plenty of folks are hardly shocked it’s gone down like this for the Lions — a team that, simultaneously, has an enviable young core of talent and seemingly combustible mix of personalities.

“For those three, the signs and the flags were there — it’s not like they didn’t have issues,” one AFC personnel executive said. “It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that these guys are having decision-making problems. Off the field, on the field, the flags were there. And it goes back to this: ‘What’s your philosophy on character risk? How do you approach the risk? Will it need to be significantly policed?’ Those are the questions you need to answer.”

With so many mishaps in this offseason, Fairley and Leshoure are almost assured to be disciplined by the League. Have the Lions as an organization exposed themselves to possible repercussions as well? FOXSports’ Alex Marvez writes:

Under NFL rules, any club that has at least two players suspended for violations in the same season under three different policies (performance-enhancing drugs, substances of abuse and personal conduct) must remit a portion of their salary to the league.

If both are suspended for repeat violations under the substance-abuse policy, the Lions will be required to submit to the NFL 25 percent of their respective base salaries for each game missed up to $200,000. Neither player would be paid during the suspensions.

The League’s crackdown on player behavior brought with it a new focus on an organization’s role in helping deter their bad behavior. Obviously, the Lions can’t be blamed entirely for the poor decisions made by their players. However, it is safe to say that they need to take a more proactive role in counseling the players they employ.

NFL.com: Detroit Lions’ troubled 2011 draft class raises larger questionsFOXSports’ Alex Marvez: Lions could face penalties over arrests

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6 thoughts on “The Lions – The New Bad Boys of Detroit

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