<
>

Junior Galette to meet with NFL, not expecting punishment for Jan. arrest

METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans Saints linebacker Junior Galette said he'll meet with NFL officials in New York at the end of this month to help determine whether any punishment is warranted for his January arrest on allegations of domestic violence against a female houseguest. The charges were later dismissed.

Galette, who spoke to the media for the first time this offseason Wednesday, said he doesn't expect to be punished -- although the NFL's new personal conduct policy says punishments can be handed down even if such cases don't result in criminal convictions if players are found to have engaged in certain conduct. The baseline suspension for first offenders is six games.

"As far as the news I've received, it's nothing but good news. Because obviously it didn't really look good on [the accuser's] part that the case got thrown before it even got to court," said Galette, who said he has not yet spoken with the NFL but has spoken with the NFL Players Association.

Galette said he also heard the NFL spoke with the Kenner, Louisiana, city attorney's office.

"So as far as my agent and my lawyer's concerned, everything's good right now and we'll find out at the end of the month what's to be determined," Galette said.

The incident occurred on the morning of Jan. 5, when Galette and an acquaintance were accused of injuring the woman while forcibly removing her from Galette's home when she refused to leave while demanding cab money. Galette said she was a dancer who spent the night, while she said she had lived with him for at least two years.

The city attorney's office dismissed the case after interviewing four other witnesses present in the home, including Galette's girlfriend, and watching a video that Galette recorded with his cellphone. Officials also determined the woman did not live at his residence.

The woman later filed a civil suit against Galette detailing three years of alleged sexual, physical and mental abuse. However, she never made a criminal complaint to police regarding those chargers. And her attorney later requested to withdraw from that case, saying she had been "uncooperative and inaccessible," although he said her case has merit. The civil suit remains in limbo.

"Really, at this level, you can conduct yourself as ... a choir boy; sometimes the trouble comes to you," Galette said. "In that situation, there was nothing I could do. If I could do it all over again, there's not much different that I can do as far as what this person wants for me out of my life. You really don't know what are the warning signs for that, if somebody's going to cross you and try to take everything you have, basically."

This has been a turbulent year for Galette, starting with the high of a four-year, $41.5 million contract extension in September and most recently hitting another low of a pectoral injury that will sideline him into training camp.

Things started to dip last season as the Saints' defense struggled mightily on the field (Galette had 10 sacks but was part of the overall inconsistency). Then Galette drew the ire of some fans and current and former teammates when he derisively insisted the Saints' current defensive players were better than the ones from their Super Bowl roster.

Even before the January arrest, Galette talked on social media about needing to be more humble. But he once again drew the ire of some fans with a recent video posted by one of his friends. Galette shouted on the video that instead of a pec injury, it was his neck that was hurting from the gold chain he was flashing, while a friend next to him yelled an expletive directed toward someone named "Sean."

Galette insisted Wednesday that had nothing to do with coach Sean Payton, and that he talked with Payton afterward and there were "no hard feelings."

"Obviously it was just, you know, I'm 27 years old, I've been going through a rough offseason, it's just me goofing around with my friends. It had nothing to with Sean," Galette said. "Like I said before, sometimes trouble just comes to you. Obviously I didn't conduct myself the best way right there and represent the team as [well as] possible. So it is what it is; it won't happen again."

Galette said his teammates and loved ones have been overwhelmingly supportive. And although he insisted he doesn't care what fans think (once a very active Twitter user, he deleted his account in January), Galette said he's aware of how polarizing he has become.

"I'd like to apologize to the fans," Galette said. "Lord knows I want to be here more than any other place in the world. I love it here. New Orleans gave me an opportunity, changed my life.

"I'm gonna pray about it and just become a better person from it and just become a better role model to these young kids. But there's no pressure, I'm not discouraged, I'm happy, I'm blessed, I'm thankful I'm able to enjoy the fruits of my labor and be around a functional organization that just believes in me and know that Sean wants me here. [We] spoke all offseason, and I'm just thankful that I'm getting an opportunity to continue my career here.

"I'll bounce back. I've been through adversity like this before. If anybody can handle it, it would be me."

Galette said his determination for this season reminds him of when he was a senior in college, when he was dismissed from Temple and transferred to Stillman College. Galette previously explained he was dismissed after a cousin was arrested for stealing laptop computers from the dorm while staying with him, in addition to "boneheaded mistakes" including clashes with coaches.

Galette pointed out he hasn't had any of those types of issues in his first five years in New Orleans. And he said he doesn't have "bad friends or bad people" he hangs around with. But he said he has to concentrate more on the bigger picture.

"It's better to be a loner, I feel like, at this level," Galette said. "It's better to be a loner and just know that you have God on your side, as opposed to having people around you, not knowing what they want, not knowing what their intentions are."

As for the pectoral injury, Galette confirmed he found out from Dr. James Andrews on Monday that he won't require surgery after two previous doctors had offered conflicting opinions. Galette said he's hoping to be back in time for the preseason, although he said recovery times can vary.

"That's probably the best news I've gotten all offseason," Galette said.