Rolando McClain Arrest: If Nothing Else, He's Guilty of Poor Decision Making

Gary BurzellCorrespondent IIIDecember 2, 2011

HOUSTON - OCTOBER 09:  Running back Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans breaks a tackle by linebacker Rolando McClain #55 of the Oakland Raiders at Reliant Stadium on October 9, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

As you probably already know, Oakland Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain was arrested Thursday for discharging a firearm within city limits, third degree assault, menacing and reckless endangerment after an incident Wednesday night in his Alabama hometown.

The charges filed by the Decatur Police Department say during the incident McClain allegedly produced a pistol and aimed it at the victim while he was on the ground. The victim also alleges that while he was still on the ground, McClain walked over to him and put the gun to his head.

The victim told police that while on the ground, he begged McClain not to shoot him, and McClain took the gun away from his head, held it next to his ear and fired it.

While all this sounds quite menacing, you have to remember that McClain is innocent until proven guilty. While the alleged victim may be telling the truth, he may also have other reasons for making the claims to the police that he has.

I was on a murder trial last year, and before things got started, the judge really, really stressed the whole innocent until proven guilty thing. So just because McClain was arrested in Alabama doesn't mean he actually did what the victim said he did. The victim may have had other reasons for making the claims about the gun and what actually happened during the fight.

To even suggest that the Raiders should cut ties with McClain at this time like some have done is extremely premature. However, if this goes to trial and he is found guilty then of course that's a different story.

However, one thing is certain, McClain is guilty of not making wise life decisions. He was supposed to be in Alabama for a funeral, not out getting into trouble. He has a responsibility to his teammates to go to the funeral, and then get back to the team as soon as he can. That's what he's being paid all that big money for.

This isn't the first time McClain has been involved in an off-field incident that questions the intelligence of his life decisions.

According to an article on ESPN a University of Alabama student sued McClain in November 2010 claiming McClain hit him with a car and assaulted him in 2008. Stanford Matthew Mangham claims McClain intentionally hit him twice at an intersection on Nov. 13, 2008, and then slung Mangham to the ground, causing permanent injuries. He's seeking $75,000 plus punitive damages.

Again, this case hasn't gone to trial yet, and McClain's attorneys have filed documents in court denying the claims. That case is set for trial June 5.

The incident Thursday is the second incident involving McClain and gunshots in Alabama. In January, someone opened fire at McClain's Chevy Tahoe as he was driving. During the investigation of that incident, McClain told police he was driving past a group of people standing on a street corner when an unknown individual started shooting. McClain was unharmed in January because bullets did not penetrate the passenger compartment, but officers removed one bullet from the rear hatch of the SUV.

While there is absolutely no sign that McClain did anything wrong in that incident, it is troubling that he consistently seems to be involved in gunshot related incidents.

If McClain isn't guilty of the charges filed Thursday, I do think he needs to take a look at his life, and the decisions he's making. Who are his friends and should he be hanging out with them any longer? Are these friends good for him as a person and as an NFL player? Is fighting and getting into trouble at home worth losing his career and possibly his freedom?

I have a feeling that like many of today's younger NFL players, this young man has spent a good portion of his money from his first contract. Unless he has enough money to support himself the rest of his life, he will need the future contracts he might earn to support his way of life.

McClain has shown some promise during his short career with the Raiders, and he may very well have a bright future as an NFL player. If that's the case, he will have many more large paydays as a player.

While McClain may or may not be innocent of the charges filed in Alabama Thursday, one thing is certain. McClain better wise up and start making good life decisions before it's too late. If he doesn't, he may just find himself watching NFL games on Sunday from his hometown in Alabama.