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|Bill Romanowski might be forced to pay Marcus Williams millions of dollars for what he did.|
But this week, here in Oakland, it stopped spinning. Here's the salient fact about this case: William Thomas Romanowski is on the witness stand because he crossed a line, a line that he hadn't crossed before despite a long record of game-time transgressions that earned him a rep as one of football's dirtiest players. Those other transgressions, rep or no rep, were in fact sweet and pure acts of the sort of athletic violence that make up the foundation of the game. That Romanowski hit against Kerry Collins, a helmet-to-helmet stoning that left Collins with a broken jaw? The one that resulted in a $20,000 fine? That was football. That hit against Trent Dilfer, when Romanowski launched himself head-first into the quarterback just as he released the ball? That one was worth a $10,000 fine. But that, too, was football. What happened in the altercation with Williams, though, that August day in 2003 ... that wasn't football. It was an awful bulletin about losing control and not being able to get it back. After he crossed that line, Romanowski apologized, first to his teammates, then to fans in a television interview. Somewhere in between then and now, he called Williams. He made the call from Willie Brown's office. Brown was the Raiders' secondary coach, who just happens to be black. Is that significant? I don't know. Just another fact to share. We don't know the details of that call, because no one has said anything about it.
Again, Williams can't win here. Players who pursue litigation against other players aren't going to find work anywhere else in the game. And that isn't just my opinion. That's another fact. It's a fact stated by George Paton, director of pro personnel for the Miami Dolphins. In his deposition, when asked why the Dolphins didn't sign Williams after he'd worked out for them, Paton first mumbled something about Williams not being in the best shape. But then he added, "He had the litigation thing." Williams can't have peace. Peace won't be restored by the litigation, regardless of its outcome. Athletes don't sue one another. They don't seek revenge, at least not in a courtroom. They meet, they look one another in the eye, and they own up to what they've done. This assures that football always remains removed from the so-called real world, where no one talks and everyone lives in fear of breaking that code.
|Cochran's representation of O.J. told us the truth about our legal system.|