Posts tagged “Bomani Jones

Player’s Arrest Could Have Far Reaching Implications for NFL

Listening and reading the media commentary regarding the arrest of Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd is more than just entertaining—it is almost laughable.

Understandably, the story of Hurd’s arrest on serious federal drug charges is big news.  Huge stories fill a ratings book and sell newspapers.  But before commenting or writing about an arrest, these media professionals should perform their due diligence and get a grasp of the legal aspects relevant to the investigation.

Consider some of the questions raised by SB Nation “contributor” Bomani Jones as he thinks, in print, aloud:

“What happened to the marijuana?” Jones asks, before noting that Hurd went to claim $88,000 confiscated by police during a traffic stop but did not seek to reclaim the “weed.”

Even in Berkeley and Madison, marijuana remains a federally classified schedule one drug, which might explain Hurd’s alleged reluctance to stake a claim to the “weed.” Reading between the lines of various media reports it appears that investigators discovered trace amounts of marijuana on or inside a duffle bag, resulting the likely confiscation of a small amount of marijuana.  Cash, on the other hand, is legal tender and lawful to possess.

As stupid as this may sound to the average sports-minded talking head, asking for the cash could serve as a defense. Who in their right mind, a juror might reason, would ask for money back if the cash were proceeds of ill-gotten gains? Hurd makes a good, legitimate living playing football. What is so outrageous about a wealthy athlete possessing large amounts of cash? 

Media reports suggest that Tiger Woods spent good sums of money in various cities around the world during his alleged liaisons with women. Yet not one creditable news source has so much as suggested that Tiger was involved in criminal activity. The lifestyles of young, wealthy athletes are, for better or worse, much different from those of working stiffs, where a mechanic, grocer, and plumber live-and-die by the digits in their checkbooks not by the number of groupies in their hotel rooms.

In the criminal complaint, federal authorities allege that Hurd is more of a financier than hands-on drug dealer.  Investigators made use of a shadowy go-between, identified only by the initials T.L., as an intermediary between Hurd and larger drug suppliers. The purpose of the complaint is to show the probable cause required to arrest Hurd. The evidence needed to convict likely runs substantially deeper.  Rarely, if ever, will the federal government charge a high-profile defendant absent audio or video recordings illustrating the charged party’s involvement in a criminal conspiracy. 

Another interesting facet of this ongoing investigation is the possibility that other NFL players are somehow involved as either co-conspirators or customers of Hurd’s. 

The Huffington Post’s Andrew Brandt notes “…authorities claim to have a list (possibly in the double digits) of NFL clients that Hurd served.”

Hurd’s attorney disputes that a list of potential NFL customers exists. 

What is unusual in the Hurd case, however, is the pace of the investigation from its initiation in mid-July to an arrest just five months later. In most instances, agents of the federal government take years to affect arrests in drug conspiracies. Local law enforcement officers often gripe that while federal investigators spend years building big cases the targets remain involved in ongoing criminal activity directly affecting certain neighborhoods and communities. 

For whatever reason, authorities sought a quick resolution to the Hurd case.  It is only a hunch, but that “double-digit” list of potential NFL customers may be the reason. Federal prosecutors might be willing to let Hurd plead to a lesser offense—one where he serves five to ten years instead of 15 to 30—if he agrees to testify against other athletes.

To those sports-minded talking heads, here is one barometer to follow-up on. Keep an ear to the ground in an attempt to ascertain if any members of the Bears, Cowboys or other NFL teams, retain high-profile defense attorneys.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

 © Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011