A Look Inside The Dark Side Of NFL

I’m not going to bust on former Lions offensive lineman Lomas Brown for admitting he let a Green Bay defender hit quarterback Scott Mitchell in the hopes of getting the struggling quarterback out of the game.


Ain’t gonna do it.

Were his actions on the field unprofessional and potentially dangerous? Of course. Do the comments hurt his credibility as an analyst on ESPN? No doubt. But the truth is often ugly and hard to hear. That doesn’t mean the facts need to be suppressed.

The truth is, we should be thankful for these rare glimpses into the true culture of athletics as a refuge from the nauseating pablum of cover stories designed to spread willful ignorance while promoting the universal fallacy of athletic purity.

On the “SVP and Russillo” program on ESPN Radio, Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle, confirmed the barely-kept secret that offensive linemen employ sudden lapses in proper blocking technique to send messages to teammates who have fallen out of favor.

The implication of teammate and fellow Lions offensive lineman Kevin Glover, to whom Brown says he told of his plan, provides further evidence that this wasn’t an isolated incident.

In Brown’s recollection, Glover did nothing to dissuade his cohort from taking the possibly dangerous action. Why should he? Brown was simply following an accepted code of conduct that exists privately in all sports, and one that, once exposed, must be countered with feigned disgust.

The most recent look behind the veil came in a Dec. 20 Associated Press article into the use of performance enhancing by college athletes.

Coaches, administrators and NCAA officials have all touted the company line about the cleanliness of intercollegiate athletics and the effectiveness of established enforcement efforts. Yet the researchers and writers who worked on the story reported a quite different story. So did a former University of Hawaii running back.

In the article, Bryan Maneafaiga admitted to injecting himself with the steroid stanozolol while playing for the Warriors, and that he was surprised that his tests came back negative for steroid use even while twice being flagged for marijuana use.

June Jones, his coach at the time, said none of his players had ever tested positive for performance enhancing drugs and in 2006 told the Honolulu Advertiser that steroid use had been 100 percent eliminated from college football.

Neither Jones nor anyone else involved in college athletic actually believes in the purity of amateur athletics, yet that’s the PC BS that has been handed out for years.

And as with Brown, there are a lot of people who would rather Maneafaiga just keep quiet.

Perhaps the most viral example of the reaction to the release of an unintended truth came last March when the NFL determined New Orleans Saints players and coaches had conspired to knock opponents out of the game.

As expected, the announcement was met with wide public condemnation and shock, as if forcefully trying to remove a player ended with the retirement of Ted Hendricks’ clothesline or Dick Butkus’ move into family-friendly television.

The most unfortunate response to the statement came from the very guy who started the controversy. A day after the announcement, Brown, while on yet another ESPN program, backpedaled on the story, saying his actions do not represent him now, as a more mature person, and that he understands Mitchell’s angry response.

Brown, who during the original interview said, “As you can tell, I’m just not a big fan of Scott Mitchell. He’s not on my Christmas list,” will look to reach out to his former teammate.

Now, that’s honesty without filter.

smurray@midweek.com Twitter @Stevemurray84