LSU Tigers offensive lineman La’El Collins has been sought out to answer questions about the murder of a pregnant woman.
The good news first: La’El Collins is not currently considered a suspect in the shooting and death of a pregnant woman, 29-year-old Brittany Mills. The bad news: Apparently Mills is an ex-girlfriend of the Tigers’ offensive lineman, and Baton Rouge police want to bring the potential first-round pick in for questioning.
At this point the 21-year-old offensive tackle–who upon joining the NFL may move to guard–is being considered innocent until proven guilty. Still, Collins has wisely hired an attorney, Jim Boren, to handle the situation as Collins is off in Chicago–the spot of the NFL draft–this week.
It is possible that Collins is the father of Mills’ child, who survived and is still being treated in the hospital. Still Collins is at least at this point making it clear he was not involved in any way, hence hiring the attorney to help clear his name.
So the question is simple: Should NFL franchises be worried about Collins?
For three main reasons, no.
First, by all accounts it appears Collins is innocent. Though he probably did know Mills, and the child may very well be his, there is no known evidence currently to suggest he had anything to do with the murder.
The Baton Rouge-based Advocate speculated that she opened the door of her home to someone hoping to use her car and when she refused was shot.
Second, not to be trite, but it seems the NFL is rather unconcerned with these matters. It’s not right, but unless athletes are actually convicted, the NFL rarely punishes them.
Collins will face no punishment, and it will not impact his NFL playing career, unless he is found to be in the wrong. And again, it sounds as if he is completely innocent, so no, fans of whichever team drafts him should not be concerned and should not assume something like, “Hey we just drafted a guy who might be murderer”.
Whichever team drafts Collins is likely drafting a guy with no such track record.
Third, if Collins were thought a suspect, police would have likely detained him and made sure he was kept from leaving for Chicago. Instead, they’ve made it clear that they just want gather information, since he apparently did know the woman, if nothing else.
If he can help them find the killer, he won’t be a hero, but certainly a helper in upholding justice.