And just like that it was over.
Even if we had mostly forgotten about it.
A happy ending – to a story that could have been really, really bad.
On June 5, 2016 when Aqib Talib shot himself in the leg in a Dallas park, or strip club, or wherever, the last thing on his mind was whether or not he was going to be suspended by the NFL. The thought was probably more like: Am I going to live?
Just take one look at the amount of blood he lost inside this trendy white sports car and it’s miraculous there were no long-term effects on the star’s life, leg and playing career.
When talking about Talib in the summer of 2016, the conversation was mostly whether or not he’d face discipline from the NFL. After all, Plaxico Burress went to jail for shooting himself. Luckily for Talib, the offense occurred in gun-lovin’ Texas, so it quickly became clear the state wouldn’t pursue charges. But power-hungry commissioner Roger Goodell was a whole different story.
You can bet the league did all the digging they could into this one – desperate to suspend Talib and distract from things like Tom Brady’s ridiculous four-game ban. The problem is no one wanted to talk. Whether it be some code, or Talib was truly so intoxicated he couldn’t remember what happened, NFL security wasn’t going to get any more info than we all had.
So, what did the commissioner’s office do? They sat on the story – hoping we’d all forget about it – and we mostly did. Until Tuesday.
At 10:32 a.m. Tuesday morning, Tom Pelissero of USA Today broke the news.
Source: NFL has closed investigation of Aqib Talib and won’t suspend or fine him for 2016 shooting incident. Good news for Talib, #Broncos.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 18, 2017
Just like that, the threat of discipline was gone. Fingers crossed, but Talib will play all 16 games in 2017 provided he stays healthy.
There are many important takeaways from this saga that has gone on for the better part of 10 months, but a few in particular standout.
First, it’s unclear who was looking out for Talib that night, but someone was. The fact he didn’t lose even more blood by hitting a major artery, lose his leg or even lose his life is so very lucky. The man had a bullet go through two meaty parts of his leg. He could be dead. At the very least he shouldn’t be playing football. It’s frankly a miracle he’s still an All-Pro cornerback.
Next, don’t be stupid with guns, kids – and don’t mix them with alcohol. Talib has more experience around firearms than I do (basically none), but he obviously screwed up that night. Whether it be forgetting to activate a safety, or the gun not even having one, he made a grave error. I don’t know if he has enemies so intense he feels the need to carry a gun on a boozy night out, but maybe next time leave it at home. Or hang out in a different place.
Finally, Talib and the Broncos won. They beat the NFL – and that doesn’t happen often.
It’s a victory off the field; when the league offices can’t find a way to suspend a guy for an offense that reeks of NFL discipline, it’s a win. From a sheer football standpoint (a minor note in the grand scheme of things) this couldn’t have worked out better. Talib is coming off arguably the best season of his career and this year won’t end up missing a single game due to injury or suspension because of the gunshot wound.
By this point it’s abundantly clear Talib is a lucky son of a gun (pun intended). He kept his job, kept his money and most importantly kept his life.
But with multiple run-ins with the law off the field, let’s hope this is the final time we read about Talib in the police blotter.
He truly is a good man with a big heart. Go into the Broncos’ locker room and he’s one of the nicest guys around. He has made some bad decisions, but deep down he means well.
On Tuesday, he caught a big break. It was a happy ending to a story that could have been really, really bad.
And suddenly, it’s all over.