Detroit Lions’ Johnny Culbreath Arrest Brings Disappointment

By Joyce Dunne

Several media outlets (I’m citing Dave Birkett’s article at the Detroit Free Press website, conveniently sporting Culbreath’s mugshots) have reported that Lions offensive tackle Johnny Culbreath was arrested on Monday for simple drug possession. The rookie, a late-round draft pick from South Carolina State who spent the 2011 season on injured reserve, was busted at a South Carolina motel for marijuana possession. He appeared in front of a magistrate Monday afternoon and paid a $412 fine.

One nagging detail that Birkett shares in the story has held my attention: that Culbreath hung up when the reporter reached him seeking comment.

I know it sounds ridiculous. He hung up. Big deal. The hang-up is a small, common gesture that can easily be accounted for: who would want to talk about an arrest to a reporter? And I have no doubt that reporters get hung up on frequently.

But it occurred to me that this action could be a signal of Culbreath’s lack of awareness and short-sightedness about his role as a player for the Detroit Lions. His abruptness may be interpreted as a refusal to acknowledge his error, revealing another potential character issue on top of the circumstances surrounding his arrest.

I may be absolutely making too much of this hang-up detail. I wouldn’t have looked twice if the article had quoted him as saying “No comment.” Even ignoring the hang-up, Culbreath’s arrest is surely a disappointment to the team and fans alike.

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