Should Redskins PR Brandon Banks be Suspended?

By now we have all heard the news that kick returner extraordinaire Brandon Banks was stabbed some few weeks back outside a nightspot in DC. It took Redskins fans back to a dark time as they were forced to recall the tragic loss of Sean Taylor. Conflicting reports came out about the health of Banks over the next couple days. Everything from artificial stab wounds to collapsed lungs. We, as Redskins fans, feared the worst but hoped for the best.

While Banks isn’t “out of the woods” yet the reports are he’ll be fine. He had suffered some injuries but nothing life or career threatening. Everyone from DC to Raleigh breathed a sigh of relief. The 5’7” 155 lb “Lil’ Assasin” would be back wrecking havoc next year. When the health concerns died down the talking heads in DC sprung to life.

"What was he doing out at 3am?" "Brandon needs to be careful who hangs out with. You are the company you keep." "Now that he’s a celebrity he has to realize he’s going to be a target for people acting tough." How is it, myself included, didn’t question Banks role in the incident? We assumed he was simply a bystander. He didn’t seem like the kind of guy who would get himself into this type of trouble. But why did we think that? Is it because he seems like such a nice guy when he does interviews? Or is it because he was always tweeting with his fans? (writers note: Banks has deleted his twitter account) Is this all it takes for us to assume we know someone?

Well, it appears in this case we were duped. Brandon Banks has every right to be out on the town with his boys. He’s young and has a little bit of cash now so why not go out and splurge a little? What 23 year old wouldn’t? And yes, he should be careful with the company keeps--everyone should. More than anything he needs to know when he goes out that he’s a target for guys who are feeling tough.

Here’s the rub: What the people of the DMV shouldn’t have to be worried about is when the tough acting guy is Brandon Banks. It appears as the people who need to be most careful are the ones hanging out with Brandon. His actions that night put his friend’s life in danger. Just because you’re an athlete doesn’t mean you no longer have to abide by a certain moral code. The new money and the new fame do not allow you to be an instigator or a thug.

I’m not saying Brandon Banks is a thug, but according to reports his actions that night were thug-like. According to reports, Banks and some friends drove up to the front of "Park at Fourteenth" and exited Banks’ Gold Escalade sometime around 2:50 am. At this point Banks and his friends ignored repeated requests by parking officials to move the Escalade as it was blocking traffic.

Approximately 15 minutes later Banks was outside the club seen talking to the suspect Jason Shorter, and according to many witnesses, was openly mocking him for wearing white after Labor day (writers note: are you f’ing kidding me?). Shorter attempted to walk away from Banks, but Banks followed Shorter continuing to mock him. At this point the altercation becomes physical. Shorter at this point produces a knife yet Banks does not back down. Shorter begins to swing his right hand violently, and during the scuffle Banks and his friend, Christopher Nixon, were stabbed. Both men were rushed to the hospital and Jason Shorter was apprehended by DC Police. From this incident I’m sure of two things: Jason Shorter needs to serve serious jail time and Brandon Banks needs to be suspended.

The first thing is obvious. Anytime you bring weapons into an altercation you have the intent to inflict great bodily harm. The concept of "intent to inflict great bodily harm" translates to significant jail time. Mr. Shorter has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon. This was actually lessened from the initial charge of assault with intent to kill. Using some deductive reasoning it appears that the DC Police believe that Banks and Nixon had a larger role in the situation then initially reported. It’s because of this larger role that I believe that Brandon Banks should be suspended. I’ll explain.

Ben Roethlisberger has been convicted in the court of public opinion, but not in a court of law. Ravens DB Cary Williams was never arrested in connection with a family "situation" that happened when he was a Titan. Yet both of those men were handed suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy. What Banks did that night shows a common disregard for being an NFL football player. He did not personally conduct himself in way that Roger Goddell and the NFL have deemed appropriate in the past. For a league that is attempting to change the way its athletes are viewed actions such as those of Brandon Banks are detrimental. When your personal actions are detrimental to the leagues reputation the precedent is for that player to serve a suspension.

Whether Banks likes it or not he has to hold himself to a higher standard. He represents more than Brandon Banks. He represents the NFL and the Washington Redskins. It’s necessary to conduct himself in a manner that should be beyond reproach. If he doesn’t he will find himself by himself. Brandon Banks: you’re a rising star in this league, but your star can dim quickly. Ask Dante Hall…