If the Chiefs find themselves in position to draft Dorial Green-Beckham, the abundantly talented receiver whose University of Missouri career was snuffed out after a series of off-field incidents, they will be facing what NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock aptly called a “polarizing conversation.”
As it should be.
So let’s get started.
Green-Beckham’s two arrests related to marijuana were one thing. We’re long past the days when fear of “Reefer Madness” was upon us, of course, and as it happens a lot of college students smoke pot.
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Still, it’s against the law in Missouri, an in-season arrest doesn’t suggest being dialed in to play and a second episode doesn’t say a lot about learning from mistakes or decision-making — much like his curious idea to leave Oklahoma now for the draft without ever playing there.
But more to the point, he also was accused of violence against a woman who ultimately declined to prosecute but told Columbia Police she “was afraid of the media and community backlash since Green-Beckham is a football player for the University of Missouri and is possibly going to be in the NFL Draft soon.”
So there are and should be a lot of questions about Green-Beckham, and the most important one — does that incident mean he’s incorrigible? — has no answer until, alas, it has an answer in the future.
But maybe the first question is the most crucial question when it comes to Green-Beckham, who has had no known conduct issues since he transferred to Oklahoma, where he sat out per NCAA rules before deciding to make himself eligible for the NFL Draft, which is April 30-May 2.
Do his known transgressions to date mean any thought of drafting him should automatically be ruled out?
Particularly at a time where the NFL finally is attempting to rectify its pattern of shrugging off violence against women?
Particularly for an organization just over two years removed from the ultimate act of domestic violence?
Through gritted teeth … not necessarily.
With a few asterisks attached.
First, the Chiefs would have to do due diligence to the Nth degree, which goes well beyond plans to meet with him at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis this weekend.
At minimum, they need to know as best they can that he took no action to intimidate the woman he was accused of shoving down a set of stairs in Columbia into not testifying and that there have been no other incidents of violence against women before or since.
If he clears those barriers, they also should insist on a structured counseling program and make it understood that he would be on a zero tolerance watch:
Even a whisper of an issue — gone.
So why consider giving him a chance?
Because maybe we shouldn’t give up on people when they’re 21.
We can keep punishing him, but to what end, exactly?
Andy Reid and John Dorsey no doubt have some sense of Father Flanagan in them, a belief that the right structure and tutelage can reform, and they may view Green-Beckham as troubled but redeemable.
And a theory, but only a theory, about DGB:
He was the nation’s top high school recruit in 2012, with schools including Mizzou going to absurd lengths to woo him.
This stuff made him a rock star at MU, which never before had signed a recruit of his prominence.
He may or may not have had a particularly level head before all that, but somewhere along the way he developed a sense of entitlement, a “don’t-you-know-who-I-am?” arrogance.
His stature emboldened him and to some degree made him feel untouchable.
Until one day he wasn’t any more.
By banishing him, Missouri stripped away what mattered most to him — and in the process may have done him the biggest favor of his life by forcing him to stare into the void.
It’s one thing to keep wondering what the limit is and another to learn what it was.
This would jolt a lot of people into change.
Trouble is, whether or not this all scared Green-Beckham straight can’t be known, and it’s possible his issues reflect a trait, not a phase.
Moreover, there’s no way to know how coached his expressions of remorse are now and to what degree he’s sincere about regretting his actions … or whether he just regrets being caught.
So should the Chiefs draft him if they can?
Not without being able to answer a lot of questions of and about Green-Beckham and being willing to be transparent about their reasoning and the conditions they’d attach.
Enough so to be able to dispel a lot of polarizing conversation … and absorb the consequences if they’re wrong.