Whenever discussing players becoming members of the Browns, GM John Dorsey will often use the phrase “Men of Character” to describe what he wants on his team. Then when people look at Dorsey’s track record – they scoff at that insinuation. How can one describe RB Kareem Hunt as a “Man of Character?” What about WR Antonio Callaway or rookie LB Sione Takitaki? It seems like Dorsey goes after players who have a troubled past.
There is no doubt that what Kareem Hunt did in February 2018 was a horrific act and nobody should think otherwise. Antonio Callaway’s indiscretion cost him a season during college and Sione Takitaki got suspended while in college as well. In no way is this article saying that the actions they did were good or should be emulated. However, it is important to understand why Dorsey keeps using this phrase when he acquires players like this.
“Men of Character” does not mean perfect angels who never speak out of turn; the true character of a person is shown when they make a mistake, when they do something wrong, how do they react to it? What do they do to make sure it never happens again?
Hunt is suspended for the first eight games of the season and has been doing well in the early mini-camps that have taken place. He has also been taking the necessary steps outside the building to help others. He has met with high school students and implored them to not make the same mistakes he did. While his horrible action is done and he will always be associated with it, perhaps when he has spoken to the kids, he reached one of them and they will think twice before doing something inappropriate like Hunt did.
As for Callaway, he had a small drug-related incident during last year’s preseason that was brought up on HBO’s Hard Knocks. Since then there has been no talk about another incident which shows he has kept himself clean. When the incident occurred last year many were concerned that we would have another Josh Gordon situation on our hands but those fears have been mollified due to Callaway’s ability to work hard and fly right.
Takitaki was suspended for the 2016 season from BYU. Since then he played at a high level on the field and has shown great maturity off the field. He was named a team captain which is not something a team would give to a player who is a consistent issue to deal with. He did something wrong, got punished for it and has since been a quality member of society.
We all have done things we should not have in our lives, should we not get a second chance? Perhaps our indiscretions were not as egregious as what Hunt, Callaway or Takitaki did, but that does not mean they deserve any less of a second chance. John Dorsey has shown what it takes to truly be called a “Man of Character” and I am glad that he has built an organization where these players can flourish and grow as they keep on the straight and narrow.