Last week, Colts linebacker Josh McNary was charged with rape. A day after his team learned about the allegation, it asked the NFL to place McNary on the commissioner's exempt list, which is basically a form of paid leave, and the league complied.
The Colts were just three days away from playing in the AFC Championship Game, and they didn't stall as the Panthers did when defensive end Greg Hardy was found guilty of domestic violence-related offenses via a bench trial. The Colts didn't flip-flop as the Vikings did when running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse.
"You don't want things to happen, but it was really limited as a distraction to the team," Colts owner Jim Irsay told USA Today. "It was dealt with and we'll move forward."
On Friday, McNary entered a plea of not guilty. He was charged with rape, criminal confinement and battery.
Irsay knows about distraction. He was charged with DUI last year and suspended for six games to start the 2014 season.
Here's the other half of what happened with McNary: There wasn't a huge outcry when he was taken off the roster. Here you have a player who hasn't been found guilty, and there hasn't been enough time for the NFL to complete its own investigation into the events leading up to the charge, so he could make the argument that he's being unfairly denied a chance to play in the biggest game of his career. These are legitimate concerns.
But there weren't columns calling commissioner Roger Goodell the "judge, jury and executioner" in this case. There weren't fans protesting the move.
Maybe this is because McNary isn't a star player, but maybe it shows how far the NFL and its fans have come on the issue of domestic violence and sexual assault. Yes, it would be unjust if McNary has been falsely accused with these charges stemming from a Dec. 1 event, but the process that the NFL put in place worked in this instance.
The December code of conduct policy allows the league to take this kind of action in extraordinary cases, and McNary's falls into that category.
Other things on my mind this week:
Lindsey Vonn won her 63rd World Cup title in Italy, setting a new record in the Super G. (Boyfriend Tiger Woods' tooth lost however, when a television camera allegedly knocked into the golfer at the race.) Vonn makes recovering from devastating knee injuries look easy. Have we gotten to the point where we can say Vonn is the more successful athlete of the two?
Bill Belichick and the case of the deflated footballs: This is a case for Nancy Drew! Really, the NFL should probably just assign her to the Patriots for the duration.
UFC fighter Jon Jones tested positive for cocaine -- and admitted it. "That's the big question: Why would you do that so close to your fight?" he said in an interview with Fox Sports. We are so used to hearing athletes meet a positive drug test with a denial or excuse, and it is oddly refreshing to hear one discuss the illegal drug use that preceded it. Here's hoping he gets the help he needs and can move forward.