The Denver Broncos started OTAs last week and the biggest question marks surrounding Dove Valley are the absence of Demaryius Thomas and the injury of Ryan Clady. It’s no secret that Thomas is unhappy with his contract situation and the Broncos have no one to replace Clady. But, this is just life in the NFL; teams and players disagree about long-term contracts every year and players get hurt everyday.

What isn’t just life in the NFL is the gigantic dark cloud hanging over Dove Valley. And I’m not talking about the rain that Denver can’t seem to shake; I’m talking about the situation surrounding Antonio Smith.

On May 21, TMZ Sports broke the story that the Ford Bend County (Texas) district attorney was investigating Smith for child abuse. Soon after, multiple sources were reporting that Smith’s alleged crimes are sexual in nature. Although no charges have been filed (yet), these are serious accusations. Which begs the question; why on earth is Antonio Smith still a Bronco?

Smith is being given the benefit of the doubt from the Broncos top brass. The question is: Why? Is it because Kubiak has a previous relationship with Smith or, more troubling, is it because Smith plays a position of need for the Broncos and the team would be better off with him on the field? Either way the team’s stance on Smith is extremely troubling.

In a manner of due process let’s backtrack a bit. Before casting judgment it’s only fair to examine the entire story. Here’s the timeline of events.

November 2014 – Child abuse first reported to officials in Colorado, case is forwarded to Texas because that is where the alleged crime occurred.

March 31, 2015 – Raiders, to the amazement of most, release Smith.

April 2, 2015 – Smith agrees to a one-year $2 million deal with the Broncos, easily the steal of free agency for the Broncos.

May 21, 2015 – Reports first surface of Smith’s alleged crimes, the same day it’s revealed that the alleged crimes are sexual in nature.

May 27, 2015 – Smith doesn’t report to OTAs and Kubiak explains it away as “Antonio (needs) to devote all of his energy and time right now to this situation”.

What? Is this a joke? Are the Denver Broncos less competent than the Oakland Raiders? It really looks that way.

During his lone season in Oakland, Smith started all 16 games and was one of the few players that anyone thought needed to be run off a 3-13 team. His release was a move that seemingly reeked of “Oakland being Oakland.” Upon further review, it appears that Oakland knew that Smith was about to face a serious criminal investigation and they did the only reasonable thing; they released him.

Given the timeline – and Smith’s on-field production – it’s difficult not to ponder numerous questions and draw some simple conclusions.

Why did the Raiders release Smith? Did they know what Smith was about to face? How could they not have known? Don’t NFL teams employ their own investigative staff?

Ok, so the Raiders knew and cut bait.

Did the Broncos know before signing him? HOW COULD THEY NOT KNOW? Wait, so the Broncos knew and signed him anyway? Yikes!

Hold on, even if they knew they weren’t sure those rumors were fact. Fair enough. But wait, he’s now being investigated. So there’s enough evidence for a criminal investigation and for the Broncos to suggest Smith needs to devote his energy to this situation.

Why on earth is Antonio Smith still a Bronco?

There’s no room for players like Smith in the NFL, plain and simple. The fact the Kubiak and the Denver Broncos haven’t taken that stance is appalling. Smith’s crimes, alleged or not, are serious enough that the police department investigating him has turned the case over to the district attorney.

Denver should have released Smith yesterday.

What’s happening here is obvious. Denver views Smith as an asset. An asset that makes the team better; he plays a position of need so they are dragging their feet, waiting to err on the side of a player accused of child abuse of a sexual nature.

That’s unacceptable. Can Smith help Denver on the field? Undoubtedly so, but that’s not what’s important and Kubiak has highlighted this team’s misunderstanding of that.

“The most important thing is that we spent a lot of time working on this and we decided the best thing to do was to go about it the way we’re going about it. I’m not going to sit here and talk about what might have been best. We went in this direction. We think it’s best on our behalf and Antonio’s behalf, and we’re in agreement on that,” Kubiak said.

Nonsense. Who cares what’s best for Smith or about previous decisions made? What’s important now is that the Denver Broncos, Gary Kubiak and John Elway take a reasonable moral stance. Employing a man like Antonio Smith is a mistake. The Broncos need to rectify that immediately because everyday that goes by with Smith on this roster is an embarrassment.