After Wrong Turn, Bears??? Manning Retools His Life
by Karen Crouse
That reversal of fortune mirrored what has happened in Manning???s life over the past 10 months. Last April, within days of receiving a contract offer from the Bears, Manning was arrested and charged with assault after an incident at a Denny???s restaurant in Los Angeles. Manning has acknowledged getting into an argument with a customer and pushing him in the head before leaving. After the news of his latest arrest became public, the Carolina Panthers declined to match the Bears??? five-year, $21 million offer for Manning, who was a restricted free agent.
The 25-year-old Manning already was on probation from a previous assault in Los Angeles, and if his case had gone to trial he faced the possibility of a prison sentence. ???I wasn???t willing to take that risk,??? he said. Intent on putting his past behind him, Manning pleaded no contest to a felony assault in the fall and was sentenced to three years probation, one year of anger-management counseling and 100 hours of community service. He was suspended for one game by the N.F.L. for violation of its code of personal conduct, causing him to miss the Bears??? 17-13 loss at New England on Nov. 26. ...
What happened at the Denny???s in Los Angeles, not far from the U.C.L.A. campus where Manning attended college, was avoidable. He can see that clearly now.
For starters, he did not need to be out with a friend at 3 a.m. ???Me being out at 3 o???clock at night and partying and being around people that can take advantage of me is just not a good situation,??? he said. ???Initially I reacted to getting disrespected when I thought I shouldn???t have been,??? he added. ???O.K., I shouldn???t have done that. But I thought I had done the right thing by walking away, by leaving.???
But he was arrested nonetheless and his public image took a brutal hit. ???It was tough, knowing that what happened gives people a misconception of me,??? Manning said. He added, ???It took for that to happen for me to learn.???
Since April, Manning has joined the Bears??? family and created a family of his own. He keeps his relatives closer, having come to the conclusion that they are the best company because they will not lead him astray. He flew in some cousins for the game Sunday, some of whom had never traveled by airplane before. Roughly 90 minutes after the game, Manning headed toward the exit, following the wedge created by his wife, Tosha, and his cousins. In his arms, he was cradling his sleeping son.
Awwwwww, isn't that sweet? Funny, how the NYT left out NBC's Report:
Early on a Sunday morning last April, at a Denny's in Westwood, near the UCLA campus, a Swedish citizen of Persian descent named Soroush Sabzi was minding his own business when, according to court documents, he found himself the target of insults. Sabzi, a student with an avid interest in computers, now 26, was called a "faggot," according to a Los Angeles County probation department report unsealed Tuesday. He was also called either a "f—— Jew" or an "ugly f—— Jew," according to the report. He was told, "You look gay," and called "geeky," the report says.
Sabzi tried to signal for help. Instead, he was slapped. A few moments later, he was on the ground and, the probation report says, citing a Los Angeles police department account, he was hit some more and fell into a bathroom at the restaurant.
Chicago Bears cornerback who played college football at UCLA, pleaded no contest Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court to a single count of felony assault in connection with his role in the incident. ...
Moreover, the probation report suggests that Manning has "reportedly aligned himself with gang values and gang ties" and has been "implicated as the shooter of a rival gang member." Those allegations are unsubstantiated; the report contains no further details or explanation. The deputy probation officer who wrote the report did not return a call seeking comment.
Manning claims he only hit the victim in the head and didn't call him anything:
"My agent is Jewish, my ex-fiancee is half-Jewish and black, my two lawyers are Jewish, and so it was kind of not funny to me," Manning said. "But it was hurtful for him to say that, to make me seem like I would say some things like that which definitely wouldn't happen."
Phil Mushnick wrote in the NY Post on Oct. 1, 2006:
But imagine - and by now most of us can - the fallout if Manning and his pals, African-Americans, had been white, and their victim had been black. And imagine if the victim's claim in the police report read that, instead of being cursed as a Jew and a homosexual, he'd been called a "f - - - ing n - - - - r."
Then take it from there - the no contest felony plea, followed by a specious insistence of innocence, followed by the Bears' "disappointment with Ricky," followed by the NFL's position that "it's under review."
Imagine the outrage from the news media, the sports media, politicians and, yes, Chicago's own Rev. Jesse ("Hymietown") Jackson.