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Arizona Cardinals' Daryl Washington now has a two-strike count on him

File - In this Dec. 22, 2013 file photo, Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Daryl Washington jogs off the field after the Cardinals beat the Seahawks 17-10 in an NFL football game, in Seattle. A judge in Maricopa County Superior Court, on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, sentenced Washington to a year of supervised probation for assaulting a former girlfriend who is the mother of his daughter. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear, File)

The beginning of the beginning.

I didn't make that up, Wolf did. It's not stealing if you acknowledge your own lack of creativity, but I love it for Daryl Washington.

Every time I talk to Daryl Washington, I walk away thinking "that's a good guy."

When you get suspended for using something on the substance abuse list, that means you've already tested positive once before and usually twice. Once is inexcusable, but to do it possibly two more times after the warning is the height of selfishness.

When you shove a woman to the ground, my immediate reaction is to rank you below things I step in at a public park.

These are the three faces of Daryl Washington to me.

I said immediate reaction because his sentence clearly brings up a different side. First, let's dismiss the "slap on the wrist because he's a Cardinals linebacker." You'd be surprised how light most sentences are for all Americans on their first offense (criminally) and Washington is no different.

Second, the light sentence tells me there's quite a bit of background information we're not privy too. If the Washington incident was unconscionable to the judge, he or she is not accepting the plea agreement of one year of supervised probation. The prosecutor could easily enhance their career by dropping the hammer and yet chose this plea agreement. Usually, that means two things: this was the extent of what the evidence could prove or both sides are working to rectify the situation, making the prosecutor believe the lesson is already learned.

This may sound odd but I root for justice. The catch is I fully understand I have no idea what justice is. If the entire incident happened the way Washington's ex-girlfriend explained in the police report and she was a saint throughout, I think a light sentence is disgusting. If she is not credible and Washington's involvement is much less than reported, I have so much sympathy for him and wish he would have pleaded to nothing. The truth is somewhere in the middle and, as we all know, only two people really know what happened that night. If I got my wish and the perfect amount of justice was served, the judge and prosecutor did not view this as heinous and we shouldn't either.

If my hunch is true, this means the light has come on for Daryl Washington, the human being. We all have seen how brilliant the linebacker can play. It is the beginning of the beginning because the past will soon be over. The last step is punishment from the league. Washington could be fined, suspended or both. I think he gets two games. Then, his past transgressions against his child's mother, his teammates and his community will be over.

I believe this will be the last time we're talking about the faces of Daryl Washington we don't want to see. I think he's been awakened.

If I'm wrong, I hope the Cardinals believe in three strikes you're out.

About the Author


School: Ohio University...Go Bobcats!

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: 1st Doug & Wolf Show: 1/2/07

Favorite sports memory: Goldschmidt's triple icing the 2011 NL West title because it was a daddy-daughter day at the ballpark and Bellbrook vs. Dunbar '89 when I hit my one varsity HR.

Favorite all-time athlete: as a kid, Magic...as an adult, Grant Hill

Favorite sports movies: Field of Dreams

Best sports road trip: My honeymoon...wedding Saturday...Braves vs. Reds Sunday Night...Cooperstown Monday through Thursday morning...Jennifer sings the Anthem Thursday night at Fenway... Sox/White Sox triple play and cycle in the same game for only the second time in baseball history...Saturday night Clemens strikes out 9 through 7 but the bullpen blows it and the crowd is furious.

Best game I've ever seen live: Suns/Spurs Game 5 2007 Western Semis (the game w/o Amare & Boris). Hated the outcome but loved the experience.

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