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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast



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They don't have to come out and convict the guy, but certainly the Green Bay Packers could have made a valuable statement in regards to the behavior of their players.

I don't know if Nick Barnett pushed a woman at a night club in Appleton this summer. I don't know if he got caught up in something that wasn't his fault. I don't know if he was the offender, or perhaps a victim of somebody trying to start something with a Packer.

There's a lot we don't know... but we do know Barnett was once again in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that's worth commenting on. The Green Bay Packers hide behind the following statement in regards to the 2 misdemeanor charges filed against Barnett yesterday:

"This matter now is in the hands of the legal system.  Out of respect for that process, the Packers will not have anything further to say at this time.” 

C'mon. Out of respect for the process?

Here's what the statement should have read:

We understand there's a legal process at work here, and Nick is innocent of those charges until proven guilty. Nick may well be proven not guilty of the charges, but he is guilty of poor judgment.

We've spoken with our players time and time again about getting caught up in situations that can have negative consequences. We expect them to be great players on the field, and exemplary citizens off the field.

Whether Nick committed the acts alleged or not, we understand Packer fans don't want to turn on the news hear about these things with players in the community.  They want to see them making sacks, scoring touchdowns, and working for charities.

We've spoken with Nick and expressed our disappointment. He understands the gravity of these accusations. He understands the distraction its caused for his teammates. He understands the the light it casts on himself, the Green Bay Packers, and the NFL.

That's should be the team's public statement. Then if you're Ted Thompson or Mike McCarthy you take him to the woodshed with the following... in a very loud yelling tone:

I don't care if you did it or not! I only care that people think you did and that's no good. You need to be smarter than that. Maybe somebody came up on you looking for trouble. Maybe you didn't want anything to do with this. I hear you... but do you hear me? I don't care!  

You make millions of dollars a year to play a game... a game! All you've got to do is keep your butt in shape and your nose clean for a few years and you are set for life. Don't screw it up because you want to go clubbing!

Don't make me have to deal with this... with you... and now the distraction is causes to the rest of the team. I want to spend every waking moment getting reading to face the New York Giants, and instead, I'm screwing around with this garbage.

Maybe you didn't do it... I don't care! Fix it! Make it go away! Don't let it happen again!

And this isn't the first time either with Barnett. That night club of his became a magnet for police activity in Green Bay. I'm not saying he's a bad guy, but he's been on the periphery of some bad stuff, and you just can't have that. It's okay to come out and say that, too.

I do give props to Barnett for speaking with reporters yesterday. He slinked out of Brett Favre's charity softball game this summer when word got out the sharks were circling. I hope Nick didn't do it. I hope if he didn't, he's acquitted and puts this behind him. I also hope, his fault or not, we don't have to read about him and these off the field issues again.




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