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NFC East

Guice dismissal is latest chapter in Washington’s culture change

Derrius Guice. Photo By All-Pro Reels. 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The Washington Football Team announced Friday evening that it was releasing running back Derrius Guice in response to various charges levied against the 23-year-old. The dismissal came just hours after Guice turned himself into the Loudon County Adult Detention Center on Friday evening, shortly after 5PM.

Guice faces one count of felony strangulation, three counts of assault and battery, and one count of destruction of property. The charges stem from a total of three incidents occurring on Feb. 14, March 13, and April 17 in Montgomery County, Maryland. The incidents were reported to the Montgomery County Police Department which were fully confirmed on July 22nd, resulting in an investigation coordinated by Loudon and Montgomery County officials. Guice was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond hours after turning himself into custody Friday.

Shortly after the filing of those charges the club released a statement in which they elaborated that team officials were made aware of initial allegations against Guice on Thursday, notifying the NFL. The team then met with Guice, suspending him from all football related activities while the details of the situation were reviewed. Not long after their meeting damning details emerged which forced Washington’s hand. “This afternoon we learned that there were multiple charges filed against Derrius,” the statement said. “Upon review of the nature of these charges and following internal discussions, we have decided to release Derrius.

Washington’s swift response to those charges serves as a watershed moment for the organization. The same organization that not too long ago claimed former San Francisco linebacker Reuben Foster off waivers in late 2018. Similar to Guice, the 49ers released Foster following his second domestic violence arrest in the span of a year. Reuben, who is still an active member of the team, was later cleared of all charges but the fact remained; no other NFL team put in claims for the linebacker at the time. The priorities of the organization were put under a microscope.

Fast forward to 2020 and it is nearly night and day. After an infamous decision to change the team name, albeit to a temporary replacement, and an inspired effort by head coach Ron Rivera to “change the organization’s culture,” Washington seems to be on a more righteous path comparatively speaking.

Derrius Guice’s release comes just weeks after a Washington Post story alleged a culture of sexual harassment and verbal abuse directed toward 15 women that previously worked for the team. This resulted in a series of public relations reactions by the organization, leading to the firing of two personnel executives and the resignation of the former team broadcaster.

While the term “culture change” is an ambiguous one, and usually devolves into merely winning football games, the direction of the team over the past 7 months signifies a more collective movement.

The Washington Football team has been in the crosshairs of national news recently and not for the right reasons. For many associated with the team over the years, we have become accustomed to blunder after blunder coming from the top down. Once you are continuously subjected to such patterns of behavior you become used to it, numb to it.

Lately that narrative is shifting. The organization’s responses to the myriad of controversies lately have been thoughtful, measured, and effective. These are not immediate football decisions which will lead to more wins, but the long term focus is to build an organization that can foster a sense of pride and resolve, the likes of which we have not seen for many years. While the loss of Guice on the depth chart hurts in a football sense, this serves as a new organizational precedent for personal conduct.

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