Arrested Development - Detroit Lions Perceived - Un-'Fairley'

The Detroit Lions haven’t been the recipient of national media interest since the beginning of the Cold War. If hell has a basement, they have been buried far underneath it for more than half of a century. I’m talking deep, deep down – trapped in one of those concrete bunkers constructed by evil third world dictators.   The last time the Lions won a Super Bowl was in 1957… wait a minute (scratching my head) … Come to think about it, the last time the Lions won the ‘Super Bowl’, the Super Bowl didn’t even exist.

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Unfortunately for the Detroit Lions, it’s in a journalist’s nature to prey on the reader’s insatiable appetite for bad news – and the sports world is eating it up. The Lions are finally the talk of the sports nation, but the topic of conversation is no longer the team’s meteoric ascension from the depths of pro football ineptitude. The media has focused its powerful microscope on the Lion’s seemingly cursed 2011 draft class– Nick Fairley, Titus Young, Mikel Lashore, and Johnny Culbreath.  And now, the Detroit Lions are learning the hard way – they are only as strong as their weakest links.

The national media has made their judgment – the jury is in. Detroit is spiraling out of control. Jim Schwartz has lost his authority. The Lions are a team full of unaccountable thugs. But, isn’t it a little unfair that the media has concentrated the majority of its focus on the negatives?  Have they forgotten that there are 87 players on the roster who have somehow managed to avoid criminal charges?

Many journalists would like us to believe that the Lions 2011 draft class is spreading some sort of rare disease throughout the locker room.  According to the media, this disease is highly contagious; when a person has contracted it, they start to develop a reckless disdain for the rule of law. News of this contagion is causing a state of hysteria within fan forums. Thousands of Detroit Lions followers are demanding that Calvin Johnson be immediately quarantined from Nick Fairley; if Martin Mayhew doesn’t act fast, Detroit’s best player will be smuggling marijuana on the team plane for the Mexican Mafia. Imagine Mathew Stafford coming into the locker room with a big announcement.

“Inspired by Titus Young, I have made a decision.   I have decided to join a gang – I am now a member of the Bloods. And as a team leader, I am demanding that our team colors be changed from blue to red.”

This is nonsense – a few bad apples won’t spoil an entire bushel.

Dare I say it? In a game as physical and emotionally charged as professional football, is it really necessary for the media to beat the Titus Young altercation to a pulp? (By the way, I meant that figuratively).  And, by no means am I trying to make light of the recklessness of Nick Fairley, Mikel Lashore, and Johnny Culbreath.   But, how could their off-the-field actions represent the collective character of the Detroit Lions organization? Will someone remind the media that they have yet to make a (consistent) contribution for the team on-the-field?

On the day Johnny Culbreath gets his first minute of playing time during the regular season – you’ll have my attention. On the day Mikel Lashore makes it through a week of practice – we’ll talk. On the day Nick Fairley gets the 16th tackle of his career – maybe you’ll have a point.  But until then, just remember….

A few bad apples won’t spoil the entire bushel.

Peter W. Ross

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