View Full Version : Starkey: Steelers justice hard to figure

10-21-2009, 08:30 PM

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Starkey: Steelers justice hard to figure

By Joe Starkey
Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Part of any coach's job is to take some hits for the organization. As such, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin might as well have worn a helmet and shoulder pads to his weekly news conference Tuesday.

Tomlin announced that kicker Jeff Reed "is going to play" Sunday against Minnesota, even though Reed was arrested two nights earlier and charged with simple assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and public intoxication outside McFadden's on the North Shore.

Unlike in February, when Reed attacked a Sheetz towel dispenser in New Alexandria (he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and criminal mischief), human beings allegedly were the object of his ire Sunday night.

And not just any human beings, but Pittsburgh police officers. The police reported that Reed was trying to come to the aid of teammate Matt Spaeth - who was being ticketed for a public tinkle - and "squared up with an officer by bringing his fists up."

Can't you just picture Reed striking the John L. Sullivan pose?

Reed plans to fight the charges, presumably with as much vigor as he fought the towel dispenser.

Question is, why is Reed playing when receiver Santonio Holmes was deactivated for the Giants game last season after Holmes was arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana (charges were dropped in June)?

Here is most of Tomlin's lengthy and obviously well-rehearsed answer:

"Probably the only difference between this situation and Santonio's situation is the time of the week in which it occurred. Santonio's incident occurred on a Thursday evening. It basically became something we had to deal with on a Friday leading up to a football game. We chose to deactivate him to minimize that distraction and really dealt with his issue the following Monday. His deactivation was not punitive. ... We're handling this in a similar manner. It's just that it happened on a Sunday, so we're afforded the opportunity to deal with it and address it on a Monday or a Tuesday."

Translation: You don't want to see Piotr Czech kicking field goals, do you?

Look, it's a lot easier, for one game, to replace a receiver than it is a kicker. You only have one kicker. Deactivating him would cause a ripple effect on the game-day roster.

What's more, Reed has mastered the difficult kicking conditions at Heinz Field, and this is a big game.

I have to believe that's the real story.

If the Steelers want to stick with their time-of-the-week-rationale, things could get awfully complicated. For starters, at what time is getting arrested officially considered a distraction?

Is it 7:32 p.m. Monday?

High noon Tuesday?

You'd think getting arrested on a Thursday night would be less distracting than six nights before kickoff, because media access is increasingly limited.

Come to think of it, Thursday night is an excellent time to get arrested.

If you're arrested on Sunday night, it leaves an entire week of questions and potential distractions.

And what if the team is scheduled to play a Thursday night game? What's the arrest/distraction cutoff time then? I'm guessing, in that scenario, it's best to be arrested no later than 5:20 p.m. Saturday.

This isn't the first time Steelers justice has been hard to figure. Two springs ago, backup receiver Cedrick Wilson and star linebacker James Harrison were arrested on domestic violence charges.

Wilson was cut, and the team released statement saying it would "not tolerate this type of conduct." Harrison stayed with the club and eventually signed a $51-million contract.

Charges against Harrison were dropped, but this is what the spokesman for the district attorney said that day: "(Harrison) has entered domestic abuse counseling. The victim did not request any further restitution, and the victim did not wish to pursue further prosecution."

Reed's alleged conduct is nowhere near as disturbing as Harrison's alleged conduct was, though Tomlin left the distinct impression it isn't exactly welcomed, either.

"Anything that sheds a negative light on this organization or its players is a distraction," Tomlin said. "It's not something that's pleasant, but I'm paid and paid well to deal with it."

The man earned his money yesterday.

Joe Starkey can be reached at jstarkey@tribweb.com or 412-320-7810.

10-21-2009, 08:59 PM
Look, it's a lot easier, for one game, to replace a receiver than it is a kicker. You only have one kicker. Deactivating him would cause a ripple effect on the game-day roster.

Not only that, you'd have to cut someone to make room. That would be a stupid thing to lose a player over, and probably piss off the whole team too. I honestly don't think he'd have a problem with Czech being in there for one game if it wasn't for the roster problem.

tony hipchest
10-21-2009, 09:10 PM
STfu starkey and quit whining.

finding a new kicker is 10X more distracting than skippy going "joe dirt" on a couple of parking lot pigs.

(no offense to police personel who do more to protect us than those who patrol for people who piss in public.)

plus, wasnt the case and charges dismissed against santonio? 1 game suspension seems kinda harsh in retrospect.

10-22-2009, 06:56 AM
The Reed Debate: Distraction that's not a distraction
Thursday, October 22, 2009
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The suddenly topical difference between Jeff Reed's situation and Santonio Holmes' situation is apparently pretty complicated, but in terms of carpeting, it's only about five feet.

That's the distance from which Reed is situated from Holmes in the dressing room, with only one locker between them, which belongs to Casey Hampton. It's just a few steps, unless the Big Snack happens to be home, then it's a bit of a walk, owing to Hampton's circumference.

No one thought much about the difference between Reed and Holmes as defined by carpet or in any other way until Sunday night, when Reed and teammate Matt Spaeth had a meeting with Pittsburgh police officers that could have gone better. The Steelers kicker wound up charged with disorderly conduct, public intoxication, simple assault and resisting arrest, the result of his alleged interference with an orderly processing of the tight end, who was alleged to have been violating the always pesky statute prohibiting public urination.

"There's a lot more investigating to do with this," Reed said yesterday, "so I'm not really going to talk about it."

Reed talked about some other things, like how he loves the community and it loves him back, and like how he loves the organization and it loves him back.

"I talked with Mr. Rooney [the ambassador, passing through on his way to Washington on State Department business], to Kevin [Colbert] and to coach Tomlin. They told me what they thought, and it was not negative."

Dan Rooney confirmed as much, indicating that the Holmes situation was very different.

Different it was, but in what relevant way to the dichotomous outcomes isn't really clear.

Holmes' SUV was stopped near Mellon Arena one year ago tomorrow on suspicion that it was carrying a large amount of marijuana. That was incorrect.

It was only carrying a small amount.

Asked if he'd been smoking those three blunts on the console, Holmes said that he was not. But, he said helpfully, he'd smoked 'em the day before.

A model of cooperation with the authorities.

Ultimately, lest anyone forget, the charges against Holmes were dropped when the district attorney agreed with Holmes' defense that the reasons for stopping the vehicle were legally dubious.

But for this "distraction," coming less than 72 hours before a home game with the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Football Giants, Holmes was sent home and told to come back Monday.

For this week's "distraction," coming most of a week before a home game with the Minnesota Vikings, Reed got a reassurance that he'd be playing Sunday and a de facto thank you from Tomlin for leaving as much time between his arrest and the next kickoff as humanly possible.

I suppose someone could get arrested less than five hours after game, but I don't want to know how.

Holmes, asked for comment on these wildly different outcomes yesterday, said this:


If it was bothering Santonio that a bogus charge got him shelved for a game the club wound up losing by a touchdown while the kicker got a pass for a similarly unresolved four-count incident a year later, he was not biting on it.

"I got nothin' to do with that," Holmes said. "That all goes on upstairs."

Upstairs, one day earlier, Tomlin had answered question after question on the apparent inconsistency -- some would say hypocrisy -- of his approach to the two incidents with something less than his usual aplomb. He could have no commented it right into the middle of next week, and deserves a good measure of credit for not doing that. But his well-framed explanations lacked weight.

He said the action against Holmes was not punitive. How can you tell a starting wideout he's not playing Sunday without being punitive? He said the timing of the Holmes' incident, which left him about 48 hours until game time to deal with a "distraction," necessitated immediate action.

Call it an emergency distractionectomy.

But Holmes was part of the Giants game plan, presumably. By removing him from Bruce Arians' equation, I'll bet it took a lot more recalculation than putting a uniform on another kicker for a week.

"I'm kind of shocked to hear people asking if I was gonna play or not," Reed said. "Stuff like this happens, you just gotta deal with it; it makes you tougher. And I'm a captain of this team. It may not sound like it when something like this comes up, but I like to represent this team as well as I can, and you know that through all the charity stuff I do and events like that."

No word yesterday from the annual Best Foot Forward sock drive for the homeless on whether Reed has in any way jeopardized his honorary chairmanship. I'm guessing Jeff's OK there, too. He'd be shocked to learn otherwise, I'm sure.

No one's in a better position to know when to deactivate a player in these situations than Tomlin and his superiors, so when I tell you Reed should stay home until after the Vikings game, it's only because a lot of times, just the appearance of inconsistency can be its own locker room malignancy.
Gene Collier can be reached at gcollier@post-gazette.com. More articles by this author

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09295/1007434-150.stm#ixzz0UfINz7Dw

10-23-2009, 11:30 AM
I have no problems the way Tomlin handled the latest Reed incident or the Holmes incident last season. I could be totally wrong with this thinking, but this last incident with Reed pretty much sealed his fate in that we will not resign him after the season is completed. Then we can draft a kicker in the early rounds and everyone can freak about it :chuckle: