Commentary: Legal process aside, Dunbar is guilty – of creating a major headache for Seahawks
It’s been quite a few days in the saga of Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar. And whatever ends up happening, all I can do is shake my head and say, “That’s not the introduction you want to make to a brand new fanbase.”
To recap, Dunbar was released from jail in Florida tonight on $100,000 bond. He surrendered yesterday on four felony counts of armed robbery stemming from an incident on Wednesday night. According to a police warrant, Dunbar, along with Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker and a third man, are accused of stealing more than $12,000 in cash and $63,000 in jewelry after an argument allegedly broke out at a party.
Dunbar’s lawyer says he has affidavits from the same five witnesses who were in the initial police report – the same witnesses whose stories led to a warrant for his arrest – now stating that Dunbar was not involved.
Frankly, I’m reserving all right to judge Dunbar’s innocence or guilt, and leaving that up to a legal system that is supposed to presume innocence until proven guilty. Clearly, that doesn’t apply in the court of public opinion, which was quick to judge upon learning the details in the police report. Then again, without video or audio evidence, there’s a good chance the whole case against Dunbar goes away.
But when it comes to the NFL’s personal conduct policy, I don’t believe it will go away.
Because there’s no denying from anyone that an incident did happen, Dunbar hasn’t denied being present, and the details of what happened reflect that it simply was not a good situation. And that reflects on the player.
Which puts the Seahawks in a fairly tough spot. Because even if Dunbar remains on the team, they now have to prepare for a possible suspension for a player they hoped would start at right cornerback this season – a player they traded a fifth-round draft pick to acquire – and a move that likely prevented them from selecting a cornerback in the NFL Draft.
And while the legal process plays out, it also puts the team in an awkward position of not doing anything – not knowing if there will be a personal conduct suspension – and not being able to dump his salary to pick up a veteran player with no legal issues instead.
As a Seahawks fan, I’d be frustrated. This has the potential to be the second time in four years that a player the Seahawks were relying on to make an impact throws a wrench into those plans without ever stepping foot on the field.
Irresponsible decisions by Malik McDowell, the Hawks first pick in the 2017 draft who never played a single snap, threw their defensive line rotation in flux for at least a season or two. Dunbar was considered one of the best pick-ups this offseason because he was an impact player who would make an immediate difference in the Seahawks secondary. Now, that’s up in the air.
Again, Dunbar doesn’t have a criminal history. Aside from a number of traffic violations, he has a clean record. But it doesn’t acquit him from putting himself in what seems to be a compromising situation, in the middle of a time when we’re all supposed to be social distancing and staying safe.
That, in and of itself, is not a good look.
And in that regard, I would contend that Dunbar is guilty, at the very least, of putting his team in an unenviable position.