Around the NFC West: Brooks off the hook?

Around the NFC West: July 19, 2013

The tactics San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh used to warn his players against getting into trouble this offseason brought to mind immediately Ahmad Brooks' failure to do so.

But now that prosecutors have decided against charging Brooks for assaulting teammate Lamar Divens, can Harbaugh credibly look the other way? Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News asks that question toward the middle of his latest column.

"How does Harbaugh keep command of that locker room if things are getting out of control away from it?" Kawakami writes. "If Brooks is allowed to knock around a teammate when he's drunk (allegedly), what else can a star player get away with?"

The situation becomes more difficult to ignore if the NFL decides to punish Brooks in the absence of criminal charges. But if this incident fades away from public view, then what? I would expect for Harbaugh's public comments to suggest the incident is something the team would handle internally, so we might never know the team's approach.