There are bad men in football.
Justin Cox is one of those bad men. He was cut by the Saskatchewan Roughriders following his third arrest for domestic violence. Saskatchewan’s rookie-of-the-year in 2016, Cox’s character had apparently been reviewed by the Roughriders before they recruited him. They saw a good player; they somehow didn’t see the bad man who likes to beat up women.
Let’s not paint everyone with the same brush. Every football team, every front office, every league is full of superb people. Community leaders. Volunteers. Fund-raisers. Players and executives who set the right example. Because they far outweigh the bad men and it would be unfair to mention them in comparison, their names won’t appear here.
But as in society, there are still too many people like Cox, who had been charged with aggravated domestic violence during his college career and again while trying to make the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City also released him immediately afterwards.
Upon joining the Roughriders, Cox refused to publicly address his past while the CFL was implementing tougher rules against domestic violence. Cox played so well as a defensive back in 15 games for the Roughriders last year he was signed to a two-year contract extension in the offseason.
The next time Cox’s name appeared in a Roughriders press release, the community-owned franchise cited the CFL’s “Policy on Violence Against Women” while announcing his release for a recent incident in Regina. Cox subsequently tweeted his thanks to the Riders for letting him play, his apologies and “The truth only will be known by those that were there during the incident.”
Maybe it’s because of football’s inherent violence that there seems to be an abundance of players like Ray Rice, Trevis Smith and Greg Hardy, each of whom is now rightfully known more for assaulting women than for their athletic prowess. But there are bad men everywhere.
Steve Stephens, the Facebook killer in Cleveland, is no worse than Aaron Hernandez, the former NFL player whose involvement in seven murders — and a guilty finding on a first-degree charge — earned him a life sentence.
They killed men, the worst assault imagineable. One murderer just happened to play football. Stephens and Hernandez are dead; they also killed themselves.
Is Justin Cox as bad as Stephens and Hernandez? Yes. He just stopped sooner.