While the rest of the Packers will be enjoying an extended Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends, linebacker Erik Walden will spend his weekend behind bars. Walden was arrested early Friday morning on charges of felony domestic violence-substantial battery.
Walden allegedly assaulted his live-in girlfriend, who required medical treatment after calling police. She was treated for an injured hand and a cut and a bump on the head. The officer who responded to the call saw enough to believe that Walden should be charged with a felony. Milwaukee TV station WTMJ is reporting on Friday night that Walden’s girlfriend is now claiming that she hit her head on the bed and wasn’t abused.
Upon hearing news like this, we naturally and instinctively think about the ramifications for the team, especially this team, which is chasing history. Walden is coming off a very productive effort in Detroit, leading the team in tackles and harassing quarterback Matthew Stafford.
But right now, our thoughts should be with the alleged victim. The number of women who are victims of domestic abuse in this country is a startling and sickening number. Any man who lays his hands on a woman deserves to be behind bars. I don’t know how a guy would get the message unless he has lots of time to think about it.
As for Walden, if it’s been a storybook season so far for the Packers, it’s been a storybook two seasons for the undrafted Walden, who came out of nowhere late last season to earn a starting job. His 16 tackle effort in Week 17 against Chicago cemented his starting status.
But now he may have thrown it all away. It’s important to remember that Walden is innocent until proven guilty. Just like Chris Cook, who seemingly has taken a similar path and weeks after his arrest is still not a part of the Vikings. For now, Walden is facing a felony and will remain in the Brown County Jail until Monday at the earliest.
It may be a whole lot longer before he returns to the Packers.