If we’ve learned anything the last couple of years, it’s that being sad over your dead grandmother is not considered a valid excuse for being absent from your NFL team.
The Vikings taught us this last year when they fined Troy Williamson for not getting back in time after the funeral of his grammy. And now the Cincinnati Bengals have delivered the lesson even more sternly, by outright cutting Odell Thurman for missing voluntary OTAs due to his grandma’s expiration.
Of course there were extenuating circumstances for Thurman…like the fact that he had spent the last two years suspended for substance abuse violations, and was probably bound to be a casualty of the Bengals’ new emphasis on team character sooner or later.
Still, one has to question the timing of the whole thing. The last couple years have not been great for the Bengals PR-wise. Was it really absolutely necessary to cut Thurman loose now? Sure, you’re trying to send a message to your players that there’s going to be tighter discipline. But is this the way to do it?
I have no idea how the other Bengals players feel about Odell Thurman…whether he’s a popular guy, or whether this move will stir any anger against the front office/coaching staff. I do know that when the Vikes fined Williamson last year it set off a minor poopstorm, and that a few players remarked about feeling the organization was not on their side after that.
The Vikes of course ended up rescinding the fine in order to keep the peace, but still made statements saying they thought they were in the right for levying it. The Bengals surely have no intention of taking back the Thurman cutting…and furthermore, Thurman has already said he will not file a grievance against the Bengals. So maybe he’s happy to be cut. Maybe he missed the OTAs on purpose hoping he would be cut. Either way, the Bengals look pretty heartless right now, the same way the Vikings did during the Williamson flap.
It’s nice to know we’re not alone in our callous disregard for grandma-grief.