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June 25, 2020

John McMullen: Stop shaming Dallas Goedert

Opinion Eagles

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102_11032019_EaglesvsBears_Dallas_Goedert_KateFrese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Dallas Goedert during the Philadelphia Eagles game against the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on November 3, 2019.

Dallas Goedert was assaulted last weekend in South Dakota.

It’s a social-media world, so many have strayed from the simple statement of fact into a 1,000 unproductive narratives. Everything from the tough 6-foot-5, 260-pound NFL player getting knocked out by the Florida car salesman to a 25-year-old young man being shamed for going out for a few drinks in the wake of being told to shelter in place by the Twitter-trained epidemiologists.

It’s all specious of course and most of it thankfully limited to that social-media world which has little in common with productive people who actually leave the bubble on occasion to see what real human beings who are not in pursuit of the next “like” believe.

The toughest man in the world can be KO’d if someone who understands how to throw a punch hits the right spot in an unsuspecting moment while the argument over dinner with family vs. “dive bar” takes are sexier for conspiracy theorists than a meal with your sisters and their husbands followed by the trip for additional adult beverages.

In this particular instance, Goedert was simply trying to calm the situation vs. men who were saying “disrespectful things,” according to a source. And there may be even more to the story that’s negative for the accused perpetrator than that as the investigation marches on.

By Monday morning, Aberdeen police had arrested Kyle Douglas Hadala, a 29-year-old Sarasota man, on simple assault, a Class 1 misdemeanor and the designation that had to be followed under South Dakota law because the assault did not cause serious bodily harm, per Brown County State Attorney Ernest Thompson.

Hadala has since been released on bond and his initial court date is set for July 10 and he could face up to a year in prison.

If you’ve lived a little bit, somewhere along the line you’ve probably heard the adage that nothing good happens after midnight, a thought echoed by so many stewards of young people it’s become part of the parenting handbook.

It’s not meant to be literal and most understand, it’s not going to be embraced because they themselves never embraced it. Plenty of good things can happen and some really fun ones as well after the clock strikes 12, especially for younger people. But the odds remain stacked against you, especially when alcohol is involved.

Live to be of a certain age and you will be breaking out similar advice to your kids, the direct result of something you can’t teach (learned experience) and something you damn sure didn’t care about it at 25.

At The Zoo Bar on Saturday night in Aberdeen that meant “people busting glasses and have busted heads," per scanner transmissions from the scene.

Shaming Goedert for anything here is ludicrous and defending a sucker-punch even if the expletives were flying is next-level obtuse, however.

Despite his status, despite his wallet and despite his entitlement stemming from being a professional athlete Goedert should be able to go into any bar in Anytown USA and had a few drinks without things escalating to the degree they did.

Over the years I’ve often written quite a bit about the dead period between mandatory minicamps and training camps being the scariest time of year for NFL coaches as they scatter scores of young men with money across the country and little to do for six weeks.

Some say “Idle hands are the devil’s tools” is Biblical and it can at least be traced back to Chaucer in 1386. Either way, that's time-tested wisdom and it’s only been amplified around the NFL with the first virtual offseason during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The vast majority of players handle things well, after all, getting to the league in the first place requires incredible drive and that’s not a nine-to-five sentiment. Athletes tend to be very disciplined to begin with.

The problem with being out is everyone isn’t you and when immaturity is mixed with alcohol, maybe some other substances, and a topping of peer pressure among the undisciplined, anyone can get caught up in it.

By all accounts, Goedert is fine after the scary scene and nursing embarrassment more than his wounds, a pesky nod to the ego.

It’s unfortunate that athletes are often targets but everyone is when the right circumstances are coupled with the wrong place.

Goedert likely learned a valuable if unfair lesson now that he’s getting older and adding responsibility to his life, one that has been a little more refined than the typical parenthood template -- nothing good happens after midnight for those who possess something to lose.

Embarrassment was the cheapest price Goedert could pay for learning that lesson, especially when you consider the alternatives.


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MORE: John McMullen: Protests are okay, but sports aren't?


John McMullen is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media and also contributes Eagles and NFL coverage for SI.com. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter: @JFMcMullen

You can listen to John during the week every Monday and Friday on @SIRIUSXM’s Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes, every Tuesday and Thursday with Eytan Shander on @SBNationRadio, and daily on your favorite podcast platform for "Extending the Play." 

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