By Dan Bernstein–
(CBS) However it happened, it simply took too long for us to find out that Bears defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff showed up at Halas Hall inebriated on Wednesday and was involved in multiple heated exchanges that eventually resulted in a call for Lake Forest Police.READ MORE: 2 Class Action Lawsuits Filed Against Rockton's Chemtool Plant
This is a complicated story, with details still emerging as to why news of the incidents was delayed.
What we do know is that there should be a greater desire from all involved parties to inform the public of a potential danger. Not to be alarmist, but we are talking about a veteran player with a history of both confrontations and substance abuse.
Alonzo Spellman’s multi-day saga eventually became a standoff with a SWAT team. Tank Johnson’s meltdown led to someone shot and killed. Jovan Belcher put a bullet in his head at the Chiefs’ practice facility after murdering his girlfriend. Belcher, we now know, was suffering from CTE.
On Wednesday, Ratliff arrived to work in a state of obvious impairment, was promptly told to go home, and an argument occurred, sources tell 670 The Score. He then left but returned for yet another conflict with team personnel. He was again sent home, only to return once more to make a series of threats that were serious enough to enlist the precautionary police presence.
The bizarre string of events made reporting difficult, a situation exacerbated by the Bears’ pathological fear of media and heavy-handed efforts to control information. We have no evidence of any direct attempts by the team to suppress reporting Wednesday, but it has worked to create an environment that makes it as hard as possible, with news moving primarily through friendly, team-controlled conduits.READ MORE: With Areas Of Naperville Devastated By Tornado, Neighbors Band Together A Night Later To Help Each Other
No media cared to share at the time that Ratliff was seen in animated conversations or that police cars were arriving later. Sources indicate that great care was taken by at least one outlet to confirm and connect the various observations before reporting, even if Twitter now allows for them to be provided as free-standing facts, entirely in line with proper journalistic ethics.
Making it more difficult, too, was the Lake Forest Police Department’s cooperation in withholding information. One source described the LFPD as “not forthcoming” in efforts to determine exactly what was happening.
There are more important aspects in play than football, in this case.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter much that a 2-4 team is releasing a 34-year-old player. Big deal.
What’s important is that when a noticeably angry NFL player prone to outbursts is making actionable threats while believed to be under the influence of some substance(s), we know from too much experience that very bad things can happen to anyone who might be around him.
The Bears, the local police and some reporters should be thankful that nothing did between Wednesday and Thursday afternoon.MORE NEWS: Man Fatally Shot While Working On Car In Front Of His Fernwood Home