Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather had harsh words for Brandon Marshall on Monday after the Chicago Bears wide receiver said Meriweather should be banned from the NFL for dirty play.
Meriweather and Marshall have been involved in an on-and-off feud since Oct. 20, when the Redskins defeated the Bears, 45-41. During that game, Meriweather was flagged for a pair of illegal hits, one of which was directed at Marshall. After the game, Marshall stated his belief that Meriweather should be thrown out of the league. "Guys like that, maybe he needs to get suspended or taken out of the game completely," he told reporters.
In a Monday morning interview with the media, Meriweather fired back at Marshall, citing the Bears wide receiver’s checkered personal past. "Listen, everybody’s got their opinion of things, you know,” Meriweather told reporters on Monday, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Everybody’s got their opinion. [Marshall] feels like, you know, I need to be kicked out of the league. I feel like, people who beat their girlfriends should be kicked out of the league too.”
"You tell me who you’d rather have: Somebody who plays aggressive on the field, or somebody who beats up their girlfriend. Everybody’s got their opinion. That’s mine. He’s got his,” Meriweather added.
Meriweather’s comments referenced a pair of incidents where Marshall was accused of domestic assault. In 2009, the Bears wide receiver was found not guilty on two criminal counts of battery against his former girlfriend, Rasheedah Watley, Deadspin notes.
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The Redskins safety added that his “dirty play” is the product of the NFL’s increasingly strict definition of what constitutes a legal hit, rather than any malicious intent on his part. Meriweather believes that the NFL’s emphasis on avoiding upper-body, “helmet to helmet” hits will lead to the prevalence of so-called “low hits” — and a subsequent increase in severe knee injuries.
"I guess I’ve just got to take people’s knees out," Meriweather said. "That’s the only way… I’d hate to end a guy’s career, you know, over a rule. But I guess it’s better other people than me getting suspended for longer. To be honest, man, you’ve just got to go low now. You’ve got to end people’s careers, you know? You’ve got to tear people’s ACLs and mess up people’s knees now. You can’t hit them high no more. You’ve just got to go low."
Meriweather's comments came just days after the league reduced his suspension for the illegal hits against Chicago. The NFL initially announced that Meriweather would be suspended without pay for his next two games, but that suspension was later reduced to a single game.