The 2015 NFL draft started on April 31st. Even though Seattle did not have a pick on the 31st, Pete Carroll kept with tradition and tweeted out his Seahawks Draft Clues, along with a song of the day.
The next day, John Schneider and Pete Carroll selected Frank Clark with the 63rd pick, their first in the draft.
I shoulda known you were bad news
On November 16th, the Perkins Township Police Department responded to a domestic violence report at the Maui Sands hotel in Sandusky, Ohio. According to the police report, officers found Frank Clark and his girlfriend, who he lived with back in Michigan. Clark was outside the hotel when officers arrived, had a piece of skin missing from his nose, and according to the officer smelled of alcohol. When asked what had happened, Clark said "Not much, a disturbance." When he was asked how the disturbance had started, the police report states:
women, " I don't know what they do, what they go through, I don't know what she is going through, I know she is going through some crazy fits, and she may be pregnant. "
Inside, the officers found Clark’s girlfriend, Diamond Hurt, with marks on her cheek, around her neck, and on her hip. When asked what had happened, Hurt gave a more detailed description.
She stated she has been short tempered, she got mad, and she threw the T. V. remote at him. She advised Frank tried restraining her on the bed and that is when she bit his nose. She advised he then pushed her head down into the bed and then they both got off the bed. She advised Frank then punched her in the face and she fell back breaking the lamp. She stated she then threw an alarm clock at him and he was trying to gather his belongings to leave.
When asked specifically about the marks on her neck, she stated:
Diamond was asked about the marks on her neck and she stated they must be from when Frank grabbed her by the shirt. It was pointed out that her brother stated Frank grabbed her by the neck and slammed her to the ground. Diamond stated he didn't grab her by the throat and that he grabbed her by the shirt. She stated she was also wearing a necklace with a pendant.The pendant was found in the bed and the necklace was found on the floor, to the right of the bed. I asked Diamond when Frank grabbed her by the shirt, where did she end up on the ground at and she pointed to the leftside of the bed.
Hurt was also given a breathalyzer test, which registered at .000%.
Officers informed her that based on what they found and had been told, they would be arresting Clark. She was then asked if she would like to press charges. According to the police report, she declined that offer.
I asked Diamond if she wanted to pursue a criminal charge of domestic violence against Frank and she stated she did not. She advised with what Frank has going on, she didn't want him arrested.
From the bad boy demeanor and the tattoos
Frank Clark’s attempts to navigate the media since the domestic violence arrest, and subsequent guilty plea to charges which were dropped to disorderly conduct, have been a bit rocky. Initially, Clark stated that it could have all been avoided if he had said "No, I don’t want to go to Sandusky. No, I don’t want to go the water park."
Clark followed that comment up by stating that "it was a confrontation … and the woman involved took it to another level that it shouldn’t have been taken to." Not surprisingly, that comment specifically sat poorly with many and was widely criticized as victim blaming.
After being drafted by Seattle, Clark was exposed to a whole new round of questioning by the Seattle sports media. During the press conference, Clark was asked directly if he felt he was wrong and whether he was sorry or not.
I believe I was wrong. And I am sorry. And the main reason why I am is because I put myself in a position I shouldn’t have been. I’m not saying that I did anything wrong as far as putting my hands on a woman because the case played out how it did and I’m sure it reflected that. I am sorry and I do apologize to everyone who it may have affected. Just the time spent even investigating it, I apologize for that. No one should have to go through that whether you’re the person who’s looking at it or whether you’re the person who’s going through it or whether the woman in the midst of it. I don’t believe no one should have to go through that. I don’t believe no woman should ever have to go through anything like it, anything domestic. I don’t think no woman should ever have anyone put their hands on a woman.
There is a lot to unravel here, with something for anyone with a preconceived notion on the matter. What’s clear from both sets of comments, however, is that Frank Clark wishes he had been anywhere but Sandusky, Ohio.
But I'm undecided, tryna figure out if that's you
For many fans, sports are supposed to be an escape. Players like Frank Clark, Jameis Winston, Dorial Green-Beckham, Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, and Leonard Little, as well as issues such a concussions, force fans to have tough conversations. Fans have to have these conversations with other fans, but first and foremost they have to have that conversation with themselves.
Does rooting for a player who has committed, or has been accused of, domestic violence endorse domestic violence? What about rooting for the team that employs that player?
Is playing in the NFL a privilege, and should a player involved in domestic violence lose that privilege completely?
Speaking for myself, I have struggled with these questions for a long time. I feel adamant that I do not want players who have been involved in domestic violence on the team I root for. It makes me ashamed to think about rooting for a player with that in their past. On the other hand, it’s hard for me to say that a player who has been involved in a single domestic violence incident should have their livelihood taken away.
What Frank Clark did, according to the account given in the police report, is terrible. Domestic abuse has been described as an epidemic that has affected the lives of 1 out of every 4 women. In up to 41% of domestic violence cases, offenders abused their partner again. Without a doubt, domestic violence is a serious issue in our society.
But Frank Clark is 21 years old, and Frank Clark is an individual person. Should he be held responsible for the sins of others? Should his career end before it starts?
Cause (ooh) you're so much better than the next guy
Prior to the 2012 draft, John Schneider made his stance on domestic abuse clear.
"Suffice it to say, we would never, ever take a player that struck a female, or had a domestic dispute like that, or did anything like that,’’
After selecting Clark in the 2015 draft, Schneider reaffirmed that stance. That this directly contradicted Hurt’s account in the police report was not lost on reporters, who asked Schneider to clarify if that means he believes Clark never hit a woman.
There is an entire conversation to be had around that response. There is little doubt that the Seahawks know more about Frank Clark’s situation than me, and probably just about everybody else that wasn’t there that night. Because they likely know significantly more, some people have decided to take their word on the matter. But even if you believe them when it comes specifically to Clark’s arrest, there is a bigger issue to be discussed when it comes to Schneider’s stance on domestic violence.
Since John Schneider made those comments in 2012, he has signed the following players with accusations of domestic abuse or sexual assault in their past.
In addition to those players, the team continues to employ Tom Cable on the coaching staff and Warren Moon in the broadcast booth. Both Cable and Moon have had accusations of domestic abuse made against them.
So all the normal red flags be a good sign
Just like Frank Clark’s, each of the situations listed above are unique. We could write several more posts and have long conversations about each one. What is clear, though, is that domestic violence is not a deal breaker for John Schneider, Pete Carroll, or Paul Allen. The Seahawks cannot continue to be an organization that prides itself on offering second chances while at the same time publicly taking a hard line on issues of domestic violence. To continue to do so would be dishonest.
The national domestic abuse hotline number is 1-800-799-7233, and more information can be found at www.thehotline.org.