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Thoughts on Leigh Bodden

By Pat McManamon Published: September 7, 2007

OK, I've pondered this Leigh Bodden "incident" for two days, and I've come to the conclusion that it's all Shakespearean: much ado about nothing.

I mean ... calling it an incident even seems a stretch.

First, let me say that it would have been better had Bodden merely parked his car and walked into the airport like the rest of us schmucks do. Park, walk, meet his girlfriend and children as they exited the gate area, help them to the curb, go get the car (perhaps take one child with him) and come back and pick everyone up. Had he done that, this "incident" would not have happened. I mean, it's not complex; we've all been to the airport a bunch of times without being arrested.

He didn't. And something happened. But it's not worthy of the feeding frenzy that followed.

It's amazing, really. if you asked me to list five players on the Browns who would not get in trouble, Bodden would be on the list.

But it's a misdemeanor, nothing more. It's not a felony. No dog fighting. No substance abuse. It's a small incident in an area of the airport where police take little guff. We've all had the experience of the police at the pick-up area telling us to move on. They are very direct, and you better listen. Apparently Bodden didn't. But again, it's a misdemeanor.

To have the guy sit in jail for three hours and not even be able to help (or see) his kids in that time seems pretty harsh for the charges.

But there is no need, in my humble opinion, for the feeding frenzy that has followed. The crowd around him Thursday at his locker makes it seem as if he tried to break into the White House. The fact that Bodden said he's got to let his attorney handle things might say as much about the situation as any. An attorney, for an argument about a foolish mistake made while driving.

This is not to say the pollice were wrong. They have a job to do and in this new era of color-coded security alerts they have good reason to make sure no car is left untended at the pickup area.

But again ... it's a misdemeanor ... a mistake ...

Yes, there is a new disciplinary policy in the NFL. But as I understand it it is targeted to repeat offenders who commit serious transgressions, not previously good guys who are charged with misdemeanors.

Bodden made a mistake. Knowing him, I believe he'll stand up and admit that.

But he didn't do anything so serious as to warrant the frenzy that has followed. He will not be suspended by the team, and he will start Sunday against Pittsburgh.

This seems to be the right approach.

Anything more harsh would have been punishment not fitting the crime.


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