Once Marshall hits the field, fans will forget his troubles

March 14, 2012|By Matt Lindner, For RedEye

Dig deep enough in anyone’s closet and you’ll find a couple skeletons.

None likely as severe as the one that came tumbling out of Brandon Marshall’s early Wednesday morning, when news began circulating that he was arrested and accused of punching a woman in the face in a Chelsea nightclub over the weekend, just before the Bears gave up two third round draft picks to bring him to town.

Granted, Marshall’s skeletons make any of our own past transgressions seem downright trite in comparison. That goes without saying. The fact that any man, let alone a professional athlete--and shamefully, he’s far from being the first or last man accused of doing this--even entertains the idea of violence toward a woman is unacceptable.

Of course, the outrage that flowed in reaction to that was nothing compared to the reaction to the fact the Bears knew about the allegations before pulling the trigger on said trade.

"Why would Phil Emery knowingly trade for a man who has so much baggage?” we all wondered.

Here’s why: He’s good at catching the ball. Not to mention it's been proven that executives and fans alike don't mind a guy with a shady past as long as he can help the team win.The professional sports world is littered with guys you wouldn't want to bring around your little sister. Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, Kobe Bryant and Ray Lewis have all fought major public relations battles related to off-the-field transgressions. That's to say nothing of the litany of players who have faced DUI and drug charges.All are beloved in their respective cities because they were (are) good at what they get paid massive amounts of money to do.Regardless of how right or wrong it may seem, fans of the home team have shown a willingness to forgive and forget if you can deliver the goods on the field. Chicago is, for better or worse, no different. Milton Bradley wasn’t run out of town because he's a bad person. He was run out of town because he couldn't hit or field to save his life.The sad reality is this: Brandon Marshall may be a terrible human being, but that's not going to matter at Soldier Field this fall so long as he just catches the damn ball.Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.

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