Needless to say, it has been a long and painful offseason for Daryl Washington. The Arizona Cardinals star middle linebacker is coming off of his first Pro Bowl and was coming into this season with sky-high expectations. However, this offseason may have changed everything for the man known as D-Wash.
On April 3rd, the league announced that Washington had been suspended for four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. It was later reported that Washington’s suspension was not for illegal drug use but rather for multiple violations in submitting his tests.
Washington’s four-game suspension certainly hurts the Cardinals, as Washington was considered by many to be the Cards best defensive player and with the read-option becoming increasingly popular in the league, the loss of Washington could be a major blow. The Cardinals will play the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers, three teams capable of running the read-option.
Then, after vowing to his organization, teammates, and fans to be on his best behavior and come back even better after the suspension, Washington found himself in some major legal trouble. On May 3rd, Washington was arrested and charged with aggravated assault by his ex-girlfriend. The legal report cited a broken collarbone on the victim, and a child present at the time of the incident. Washington pleaded not guilty to the charges on May 20. His next court date is set for July 7th.
The Cardinals certainly need to have their star linebacker on the field as soon as possible. But such serious charges certainly raises a question of “does Daryl Washington deserve to play?” even after coming back from his suspension? It certainly is an interesting question and right now, I think it’s a question that must remain unanswered for the time being.
What people have to understand is this is a process and an ongoing investigation. Daryl Washington did not plead guilty and has not been found guilty (yet). Therefore in my opinion, we cannot judge yet if Daryl Washington deserves to play. If he is found guilty, then that certainly raises an interesting discussion/debate. But the American justice system was built on the grounds of innocent until proven guilty. So as of now, I cannot tell you if D-Wash deserves to play or not. Only time will be able to answer that for us.
However, I can tell you that Washington’s offseason has not helped him in any way.