Rich's Rant: Say Goodbye to Mason


Posted Jun 26, 2007


The veteran writer ponders why the Browns haven't released the recently arrested receiver. Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the Watercooler.

 

Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the Watercooler


Why is Mike Mason still on the Browns’ roster?

The free-agent wide receiver, who arrived in Berea tethered to a bad reputation, enhanced that reputation with a public arrest at a downtown Cleveland night club in the Warehouse District about 10 days ago.

He refused to leave the club at the 2:30 a.m. closing time after being asked to by two off-duty Cleveland policemen. He had to be Tasered after resisting and was arrested and charged with aggravated disorderly conduct, obstructing official business and resisting arrest.

Granted, all three charges are misdemeanors, but that’s not the point. It’s obvious Mason has little or no regard for authority. Makes no difference that the cops were off duty. They should have been obeyed.

All he had to do was say, “OK, I’ll leave,” and that would have been that. No muss, no fuss. No court appearance, no embarrassment. Just leave.

By causing a public scene, Mason brings embarrassment to himself and the Cleveland Browns. And that’s something the Browns don’t need at this time, especially in the wake of National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell’s attempt to crack down on the league’s image problems.

The Browns have acknowledged that they “take matters such as these very seriously,” and yet, Mason still remains on the roster.

Why? He’s just another free-agent rookie trying to catch on. It’s not like Braylon Edwards or Kamerion Wimbley took leave of their senses and went looking for trouble

The Browns, who pride themselves on loading the roster with players of character, should have dismissed Mason immediately. What are they waiting for?

Is it the innocent-until-proven-guilty thing? Are they afraid Mason will take legal action if he’s cut because due process never entered the picture?

Why were the Browns intrigued by Mason in the first place? It has been reported that many NFL teams removed his name from their boards in the recent college draft because of his off-the-field reputation. Obviously, the Browns weren’t one of those teams. Why not?

Mason was kicked off the North Carolina football team after his junior season for repeated team violations and finished his college career at Tennessee State. He entered the draft in April draped with a huge red flag. He’s bad news and that’s one thing the Browns don’t need right now.

Give the kid a second chance, some will say. With his track record at North Carolina, it would appear Mason thumbs his nose at second chances.

Perhaps the answer to the Browns’ interest lies, in part, in the following scouting report on Mason by Scout.com: Mason is “quick releasing off the line, runs good routes and gets separation from opponents. Fast in all directions, extends hands and offers the quarterback a target.”

There’s more to a football player than speed, ability to get open and sure hands. All that goes down the drain if there is a character issue and Mason appears to have a large one.

First of all, what was he doing out at 2:30 in the morning? Sure, he’s an adult and can do whatever he pleases wherever he pleases and whenever he pleases. But no good is going to come out of being out at 2:30 in the morning.

Just ask Tank Johnson. The Chicago Bears defensive tackle, already suspended for eight games this season for past involvement with the law, was cited for DUI after being stopped for speeding at 3:30 a.m. in suburban Phoenix recently.

The embarrassed Bears did the right thing and waived Johnson. Enough was enough.

Are these guys dolts or do they just believe they exist on a higher, more untouchable plane than everyone else? What are they thinking? Don’t they realize that the NFL is cracking down on such stuff and the best thing to do is lie low?

It’s not a case of trouble finding them. It’s more a case of them not knowing how to avoid it. Or perhaps not caring.

And what is happening with the Browns? Didn’t they learn their lesson with the likes of Jeremiah Pharms, William Green and Rueben Droughns? That’s not to mention Eric Steinbach and Jamal Lewis, who had character issues with other teams.

Now along come Eric Wright and Mason. Are the Browns trying to become the Cincinnati Bengals north?

Phil Savage is on record as seeking to elevate the character quotient of the Browns and yet he makes strange decisions. One can somewhat understand his decision to draft Wright, who seems to have straightened out since an embarrassing incident as a freshman at Southern California. But Mason is an entirely different story.

There was good reason a lot of teams took him off their draft boards. Why didn’t the Browns? Are they that hard up at wide receiver that they’ll consider just about anybody? Savage’s words about character ring hollow when the likes of Mason show up on the roster.

It’s time to draw the line. Either you want to build character and act accordingly or stop the character talk and go after anyone.

As for the Browns’ defensive line woes, here are four words for Savage to ponder: Tank Johnson is available.


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