As expected, the Colts have ended John Gill's 2010 season after he was arrested Sunday morning for public intoxication outside a strip club in Indianapolis. However, the manner in which the Colts handled Gill's situation was both classy and respectful.
Gill was placed on the reserve non-football illness list, which is sort of like putting a player on injured reserve. Basically, Gill cannot play football for the NFL in 2010, but he will be able to collect his salary. Many other NFL teams probably would have simply cut Gill from the roster. Since NFL contracts are not guaranteed, Gill would be pretty much S.O.L. in terms of income. But, since the Colts seem to truly care about the health and well-being of their players, Gill should be OK for 2010.
For all the grief and nasty words we gave Bill Polian, Jim Irsay, and the Colts for the way they dismissed the thoughts and feelings of players and fans after Week 16 last season, we must now give them major props for being kind, compassionate, and understanding managers. Most other employers in this world would have simply fired Gill after his embarrassingly stupid arrest in which he was described by police as without shoes on, reeking of booze, unable to stand, slurring his speech, disheveled, and soiled. Instead of a pink slip, the Colts offered a hand to help.
Such charity is rare in today's world.
Just so I am in clear in this, Gill's actions were indeed stupid, and I personally feel that Phil Wilson's article that scolded people for "knee jerk" reactions to the incident was nothing more than excuse making. I'm sure John Gill is a good guy. Like many people, he has a drinking addiction. If Gill is to get sober by (hopefully) entering into some kind of twelve-step plan, one of the very first things he will be forced to reckon with is the truth of his situation, and the truth is there are no excuses. No one made John Gill drink. His "addiction" was not the reason he has seemingly pissed his NFL career away. John Gill made the conscious decision to drink, and he is now living with those consequences. The accountability is all on John, and the absolute last thing he needs right now is excuses made for him.
Feeling sorry for himself is likely the main reason he went out drinking Saturday in the first place.
For me, the only "knee jerk" reactions I saw to Gill's arrest were people saying how dumb he was for getting wasted on his day off from camp. In time, when John Gill is (hopefully) happy and sober, he will likely agree with those sentiments. It was dumb. He was dumb. Accepting that, and accepting the fact that he has a problem, are some of the first steps towards recovery.
For me, I wish him nothing but the best. I also think many of the people who called him "stupid" after the arrest feel the same way.