The bigger the scandal, the harder people start trying to clear themselves and cover their backsides. So Chicago Bears receiver Sam Hurd appeared in shackles in court Friday on major drug charges, accused of being part of a drug ring and reportedly dealing to other players.
And the Bears? They cut Hurd on Friday, and then general manager Jerry Angelo spent the bulk of a news conference explaining how it wasn’t the Bears’ fault, how they couldn’t have known. By the time he was done, you’d have thought the Bears barely even knew who Hurd was, much less how he ended up on the roster.
“We do our homework on players,’’ Angelo said Friday afternoon. “We have a very sound and tested (methodology) … For me to sit here and say we should have known something that we didn’t know, no, I can’t say that is the case. There’s no foundation for anybody to say that. There are no facts. There’s no flags that anybody could present tangibly to say that we should’ve known otherwise.’’
Oh, shut up. No one had even asked him about the Bears.
But now that he brings it up …
Exactly what kind of background check do the Bears do? The Bears signed Hurd, who had been playing for Dallas, in July, one day after the investigation into him started. In the end, he allegedly wanted 1,000 pounds of marijuana and 5-10 kilograms of cocaine per week, totaling roughly $2.8 million per month. That’s because, the allegation goes, he and a co-conspirator were dealing so much that his old supplier couldn’t keep up.
If this is true, then Hurd is a major drug dealer in Chicago, with football as his side gig. He would be a kingpin/receiver. Hurd, then, would be a major player, not on the football field, but on the street. In Dallas, he was known as a good guy, going to church, with scripture tattoos.
The Bears gave him a three-year, $5.1 million deal with a $1.35 million bonus. But it’s hard to accept Angelo’s panicky plea about the Bears’ due diligence. These football teams have a greater responsibility than typical companies to check into a new employee. Why? Because football players are paid to be idols.
No, not role models. But they are paid millions to be idolized by fans. That’s where the millions come from. So players are put in front of the society. Their actions matter.
Now, it’s possible Hurd isn’t guilty. Strangely, he instructed his attorney to say specifically that the rumor he sold to players is not true. But he didn’t speak about the other allegations.
It’s also possible that, even if Hurd is guilty, he just had an amazing secret life. Sometimes, you just might be shocked to find out what your neighbors are doing. Coach Lovie Smith said that with any large group, something can slip through cracks.
But that’s not what this smells like. Instead, it comes across as another example of our football obsession, our willingness to place football above everything else. What kind of people do these football teams bring in? Can a thorough background check really find something like this so easily?
What kind of background check did Penn State do on Jerry Sandusky?
It just seems that no one cares what kind of people are brought in, as long as the almighty football team wins. The Bears were in serious need of receivers, so they got one.
WSCR radio in Chicago quoted an unnamed police source as saying the feds have a list of players who were Hurd’s clients. The list reportedly is in double-digits. If that’s true, then it is a major problem for the Bears, for the NFL, for sport in general.
And that list, if it really exists, is going to be the hot thing for us to wait for. Come on, admit it: You are already wondering which players are on it. Guessing.
But maybe we should take a broader look at this, step away from football for a second, if that’s possible. This is much more important than football. If Hurd was unloading 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week, and all that cocaine, then it was not going to 10 or 15 football players.
Was it going into the neighborhoods, into the streets of Chicago? The schools? This guy might just be societal poison. Who would have guessed that millionaire football players were the ones we had to keep our kids from?
Well, Angelo said he wasn’t going to go on a witch hunt to see if any Bears might have been Hurd’s clients. Smith said he was shocked, but that he knew no other players were involved.
Keep spinning, guys. What you know about the other players didn’t come from the same thorough background check you did on Hurd, did it?