This post highlights why that is, as well as the reasons why I think, if nothing else, the "optics" might be too toxic for the Patriots as an organization -- provided Meriweather was, in fact, involved. (Which is also why, like a good doobie, I used the word 'alleged' where necessary.)
Thus, I am going to leave this post up for now, but with this update, and follow up again when things settle.
Before he was even drafted, there was this.
I know I was concerned, anyway, when he was drafted by the Patriots in the first round in 2007, because of Meriweather's role in that Miami vs. Florida International brawl, about whether he'd be bringing that kind of behavior to his career in New England. People have a lot of sour grapes about the Patriots organization as it is; the last thing we need is a Mike Vick or a Ben Roethlisberger situation.
That worry about Meriweather, and where his head is at, has continued for me as he has played for the Pats. He hasn't been awful, but the times he has really stood out, it has been for things like his absolutely disgusting helmet-to-helmet on Todd Heap last season, which, even as a passionate Patriots fan, I still will not and cannot defend.
In that moment, in fact, seeing Meriweather deliberately turn, ignore the ball, and launch himself into Heap, leading with his helmet, and then, worse, seeing him making a palms-up, arms-outstretched, "Who, me?" gesture at a clearly nonplussed Bill Belichick on the sidelines afterward, my heart froze. He was bringing both stupidity and hyper-aggression to the field again, this time while wearing my team's uniform.
Here's the relevant portion of the Deadspin post:
The trouble started at the Blue Jeans Lounge in Apokpa when a friend of Meriweather's allegedly beat up a woman, according to Morgan. The woman's brother arrived later with his own friend, and the conflagration shifted to a nearby party, where the brother soon got the better of Meriweather's friend in a fight. That's when Meriweather allegedly pulled out his gun and fired at the brother, grazing the man's face and hitting the other victim in the head...
So, let's make sure we have this totally straight. In an off-season in which the young core of the new-look Patriots needs to continue maturing and focusing on preparation, the better to properly avenge the 2010 season, one of our starting safeties is now alleged to have:
1. Shot two people
2. Shot two people because he missed the guy he was trying to shoot.
3. Shot two people because he was defending a friend who had beat up a woman on the street outside a bar. You can't even defend Meriweather on this by pointing out he wasn't there when this beatdown occurred. In fact, that only makes it worse.
Say what you will about the Patriots winning too much or whatever and about Bill Belichick's personality and don't even TALK to me about Brady's goddamn hair at this point, because at the very least, there is a lot I will accept about, or on behalf of, my team.
But I also mean this with the utmost sincerity: there can be absolutely no place for this, even if it is only alleged to have occurred, in the New England Patriots organization.
Or, more to the point: there MUST be no place for this in the Patriots organization. As a Pats fan, I'm already tired of defending them at every turn. They have to know that the "off-field conduct policy" is the last thing they want to be hearing from the commissioner's office about at this point. And if they could get rid of Randy Moss just to prove a point, even with a young, relatively thin secondary, they can get rid of this miscreant, too, and find someone more in keeping with finer Patriots traditions, of smart football and selfless teamwork.