During this off season the Buccaneers have made it a point to emphasize a certain description of the type of players that the organization wants as they move forward. In a large part, the qualities desired are, professionalism, high character, and family oriented. HC Greg Schiano and the organization have actually coined a phrase, “The Buccaneer Way“ .
They have gone to long lengths to change the community’s perception of an undisciplined group of careless athletes, into family first, team oriented, and well-disciplined professionals.
CB Aqib Talib finally received the official ruling of all his charges being dismissed from lack of evidence in his Texas criminal case. That should have finished all the undisciplined talk.
The new Buccaneers; under the new administration, with their new responsibilities, and new guidelines, could begin a new future. BUT, just as the dust was settling from the last remnants of the past troubles, the Buccaneers’ newly signed $38 million dollar CB Eric Wright gets arrested in Los Angeles, California for felony driving under the influence.
Wright’s actions have now put the organization in between the old proverbial rock and a damn hard space. As should have been expected, the Buccaneers released the normal statement: “We are aware of the arrest and are in the process of gathering information. We take such matters very seriously and will handle it appropriately.”
That being said, let’s take a moment to look a little deeper at the Wright dilemma. On March 26, 2005, Wright was arrested in Los Angeles and charged on suspicion of rape. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office later had to dismiss the case due to lack of sufficient evidence. Also, there were 136 pills of the drug Ecstasy found in Wright’s room at an apartment he shared with another player near campus. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office declined prosecution for lack of sufficient evidence. When the Buccaneers brought Wright to Tampa, with such a lucrative contract, they were well aware of everything in his past. The cases were either dismissed or never filed and the Buccaneers decided to wipe the slate clean. They determined that Wright can and will represent the NEW Buccaneers way.
We at BuccaneerTalk.com are well aware of due process. We all live in this beautiful country where we are considered innocent until we are proven guilty before a jury of our peers. But that does not remove the rock and does not budge the hard place that Wright’s latest actions have now placed the Buccaneers between. All the nay-sayers will be condemning the Buccaneers if they do not take immediate action against Wright. All the hard work of the off season to change the team’s image could be gone instantly. BUT first, under the new CBA, teams are technically not allowed to take matters into their own hands. Second, what IF maybe, just maybe, Wright is innocent. What if he was not under the influence and the vehicle accident was just that; an accident? If the Buccaneers take immediate disciplinary action now, then they have disciplined an innocent man. We are not taking any sides in this matter as it pertains to Wright’s innocence or guilt. We have no clue as to either. But what we at BuccaneerTalk.com are saying is to handle this matter just as our country allows us live our lives, innocent until proven guilty. IF Wright is determined to have violated the criminal law and a judgment is passed against him in a court of law, then and ONLY then, the Buccaneers, or the NFL by the new CBA, should impose a discipline that fits the offense. But not before.