In his first public comments since Derrius Guice was arrested and released by the Washington Football Team, coach Ron Rivera said Monday it was his decision to immediately move on from the 23-year-old running back, and that it was based on what Rivera believed was in the best interest of the team.
"Any time you have to release a young, talented football player, it's always a tough decision," Rivera said in a video conference with reporters. "But this type of circumstance, this type of situation, we take those allegations very, very seriously and we had to make the decision going forward."
Rivera declined to elaborate further on the team's internal review of the matter, but said he spoke with his players Sunday and told them that he made the decision he felt was best for the organization.
"And if it was the right decision, we will benefit from it, and if it's not, it will be on me," he said. "I will take full responsibility as we go forward to try and make sure we do things the right way, and we'll go from there."
Guice turned himself in at the Loudoun County, Va., Adult Detention Center shortly after 5 p.m. on Friday and was charged with one count of felony strangulation, three counts of assault and battery, and one count of destruction of property. According to Virginia court records, he is currently set to be arraigned the morning of Aug. 28.
Guice strangled his girlfriend until she was unconscious in his Ashburn home in March, according to charging documents. When she awoke, Guice was crying and tapping her. The woman, who was only described in court documents using initials, told authorities Guice also pushed her and pulled her hair during the encounter, according to the charging documents filed in Loudoun County, Va., General District Court Monday.
Guice’s arrest came after three incidents were reported to the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland, where the alleged victim lives, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s office. The department determined assaults took place Feb. 14, March 13, and April 17 at Guice’s home in Ashburn. The sheriff’s office learned of the accusations July 22, and the investigation was coordinated by officials in both Loudoun and Montgomery counties.
To represent him in the case, Guice hired Peter D. Greenspun, a criminal attorney in Northern Virginia whose past clients included D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad in 2003 and sportscaster Marv Albert in 1997.
"Derrius will defend these charges in court, where a full vetting of the allegations will take place, in contrast to actions by local law enforcement and the Washington Football Team that assumed the worst, directly contradicting every sense of fairness and due process," Greenspun said.
Meanwhile, team owner Daniel Snyder has accused a disgruntled former team employee of taking money and assisting in a campaign to spread damaging information against him, his latest effort to fight back attacks on his ownership of the NFL club.
In a filing Monday in US District Court in Alexandria, Va., Snyder asked for access to documents that the former employee, Mary-Ellen Blair, who was an executive assistant in the front office, has, including confidential team records, that might bolster his defamation case against an Indian media company that he contends published defamatory rumors about him.
NFL to fill Saturday void?
If the Power Five conferences decide to cancel the college football season, the NFL will consider making significant changes to its schedule, including adding games on Saturdays, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.
Florio said it was unclear how many games would be scheduled for each Saturday and who would get to broadcast them.
Vikings’ Smith will sit out season
Minnesota Vikings second-year linebacker Cameron Smith will miss the 2020 season because of a heart condition that was discovered after he tested positive for COVID-19 upon reporting to training camp two weeks ago. The Vikings made the procedural move on Monday of waiving Smith with a non-football injury designation. Upon clearing waivers, he’ll revert to the reserve list for non-football injuries. Smith, who played mostly on special teams as a rookie, was a fifth-round draft pick out of USC in 2019. He said the procedure won’t be career ending.