DeAndre Baker is innocent until proven guilty, same as everyone else in this country.
He deserves due process, his day in court, same as everyone else in this country.
But unless these gun-toting armed robbery charges somehow prove to be fiction, unless this is somehow a case of mistaken identity and the Miramar, Fla. PD has issued an arrest warrant for the wrong man, then DeAndre Baker should not and cannot play for the New York Football Giants again.
Whether NFL commissioner Roger Goodell shelves Baker first on his Exempt List, whether the legal system metes out its form of justice.
For financial and/or legal considerations, the Giants, historically conservative and deliberate, will likely let the process play out for now.
But the second they are fully convinced of the evidence against Baker, there is no reason why they should not tell him Good Riddance, and sooner rather than later if for no other reason than to send a message to their players and to their fans.
Baker’s attorney, Bradford Cohen, released a statement Friday night claiming he is in possession of affidavit witnesses who vouch his client is innocent.
“People rush to judgement,” the statement read. “Where some seek publicity, we seek justice. I look forward to moving this case forward to proper conclusion, as we believe our client is innocent of any charges.”
Let us not forget this is a once-proud franchise that has not won a playoff game since Super Bowl XLVI, that has fired the two head coaches who followed Tom Coughlin and one general manager, that has fallen and is desperately trying to get back up still.
This is a general manager who jettisoned Odell Beckham Jr. less than a year after signing him to a $90 million deal and Janoris Jenkins in no small part because they did not fit his vision of a winning culture.
This is a rookie head coach who learned at the feet of Bill Belichick and adheres to this conviction: How you do anything is how you do everything.
If I’m Joe Judge, knowing what we currently know today, I cannot embrace DeAndre Baker as part of the new Giants Way.
If I’m Dave Gettleman, I cannot allow the fact I traded up into the first round of the 2019 draft to prevent me from eating crow.
If I’m Dave Gettleman, I do not allow three years of dead-cap charges from deciding that ridding the locker room of DeAndre Baker is addition by subtraction.
Remember that trading Beckham to the Browns left a $16 million dead-cap hole. If CBA language provides recourse for the Giants to recoup $3 million of Baker’s signing bonus down the road, all the better.
And if I’m John Mara or Steve Tisch, knowing what we know today, I no longer want DeAndre Baker wearing a uniform that has been disgraced enough on the field for too long.
The rules are always different for superstars in a league where NFL teams will turn the other cheek and give them second chances lesser players would never receive.
The Giants labored long and hard to support Lawrence Taylor during his drug struggles. But Lawrence Taylor never threatened anyone during his playing career except opposing quarterbacks.
Baker’s arrest warrant scorecard: four counts of armed robbery with a firearm and four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm.
After all their talk about culture, after all they believe they have done to disinfect their locker room, the Giants would be judged guilty in the court of public opinion for merely talking the talk and not walking the walk if the events of Wednesday and Thursday nights are proven true.
There are some Giants fans who would undoubtedly cut Baker some slack if he had showed up as Deion Sanders during his 2019 rookie season.
But DeAndre Baker didn’t even show up as DeAndre Baker, or the DeAndre Baker the Giants thought they were getting. Teammates chastised him for his preparation and for his professionalism. His next NFL interception — if there is to be a next NFL interception — will be his first NFL interception.
So if it is proven DeAndre Baker is as troubled and as reckless as it appears he is right now, then he sure won’t be remembered by Giants fans as Prime Time.
He’ll be remembered as Crime Time.