The Detroit Lions had no comment Monday on the absence of receiver Titus Young from their first organized team activity of the offseason. Nor would they confirm reports that Young was banned from their practice facility after sucker-punching safety Louis Delmas during an incident last week.
Tuesday, Tim Twentyman of the team's official web site reported that Young's absence "was not the result of any punitive action by the team," citing multiple league sources. Further, Young has "not been ordered to stay away from the facility by the team and is not on any team-mandated suspension," Twentyman wrote.
In NFL parlance, the word "suspension" is meaningful and implies a formal process that could involve the NFL Players Association. It's not surprising to hear the Lions haven't formally pursued that avenue in dealing with Young.
But are we truly to believe the Lions took no action after one of their team leaders got punched at the team facility, especially after a 2011 season that raised questions about the team's maturity and discipline? Young's absence might not have been the result of a formal suspension, but for the Lions' sake, I hope they are doing something in response to this incident.
Regardless, if Young were truly welcome at the facility, then why didn't he participate in Monday's OTA after taking part in earlier portions of the offseason program? Twentyman wrote that Young "will have to provide" the answer to that question "when he eventually joins his teammates."
Does that mean Young chose to stay away on his own? OTAs, like most of the offseason program, is voluntary, but there were only a handful of absences Monday.
In the end, this is all a discussion of semantics and legalese. The bottom line is that Young punched Delmas last week, and something kept him away from the facility Monday. Did the Lions encourage it? Request it? Suggest it? Agree with Young's decision? I have a hard time believing they were not involved in the decision in some way shape or form. The alternative is that they've done nothing to deal with this incident. Which do you think is more likely?