Skating on thin ice, Broncos safety Will Parks addresses off-field issues

Whether Parks ever misses a down or not, it will be an uphill battle for the young defensive back to improve his public image after the past week.

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Image Credit: Jake Marsing, 5280 Sports Network

One of the youngest members of the No Fly Zone, Will Parks has been under intense scrutiny this summer for decisions he made both in and outside of the locker room.

After being selected in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Parks is coming off of a relatively successful rookie season in which he played in all 16 games and recorded 12 total tackles.

Parks made national headlines when he returned a blocked extra point all the way to the house with under two minutes remaining to secure a 25-23 victory over the Saints in week ten. Unfortunately this offseason, Parks is making national headlines, not for his abilities on the gridiron, but for his poor decision making.

Parks’ week started off poorly, when he decided to post videos on Snapchat that included Paxton Lynch struggling to throw the football during a team drill.

Along with breaking the trust of his teammates and coaches, Parks violated the unwritten rules of the locker room. Parks spoke on the incident Monday, explaining that his intent was not to embarrass his teammate. Instead, Parks was trying to highlight Lynch’s work ethic by showing him work on the drills.

“It was a mistake, but at the same time, there were no ill intentions towards anybody,” Parks said.

Social media is the least of the young defensive back’s problems though, as Parks is facing charges of misdemeanor harassment and non-violent domestic violence, as reported by 9NEWS’ Mike Klis.

According to the report, the charges stemmed from an incident this spring with a former girlfriend and resulted in Parks being arrested by Brighton Police on March, 31. Parks was ultimately released on bond, and is due in Adams County Court on June 30. A restraining order has also been filed against Parks.

In a statement released to 9NEWS, the Broncos addressed the issue with the following, “We became aware of the issue involving Will Parks immediately after it occurred in April. It was promptly reported to the league office and we are continuing to monitor the matter.’’

According to the arrest affidavit filed with the Adams County Courthouse, which was obtained by 9NEWS, an officer was dispatched March 24 to the victim’s residence after an incident that occurred with Parks, whom she had formerly been in a relationship with for “about a year”.

She told the responding officer that she had gone to Park’s Englewood home to pick up her personal belongings, but was later accused by Parks of taking his social security card, birth certificate, and a variety of personal memorabilia.

As stated by the victim in the affidavit,  Parks then began to start to leave threatening phone calls on her voicemail.

The officer interviewed Parks, who was accompanied by his attorney on March, 31. During the interview, Parks admitted to being upset because he thought his ex-girlfriend had stolen his things, but he denied ever threatening her.

Broncos head coach Vance Joseph spoke on Parks’ situation after practice on Monday, addressing both the Snapchat incident and the much more concerning issue of domestic violence.

“We became aware of the domestic violence issue in late-March and we followed protocol,” Joseph said. “We called the NFL and gave them the information they needed…It is in the court’s hands and in the league’s hands. As far as the Snapchat issue, it was addressed by our team. We can’t do it.”

Obviously the disciplinary process will likely come closer to the start of the season, as the league will have to go through its own protocol, after the incident is resolved in court. Whether Parks ever misses a down or not, it will be an uphill battle for the young defensive back to improve his public image after the past week.

Although none of Parks’ teammates publicly spoke out against him for posting video of Lynch errantly throwing the ball, a plethora of former players have vocally displayed their displeasure with the former University of Arizona standout.

Ultimately, I expect people to move on from the Snapchat incident, as it appeared to just be a temporary lapse in judgement. In a social media world, athletes are likely to slip up and post something dumb along the way. On the scale of things, this was a minor incident.

“Social media is tough.” Joseph said. “Our players do a great job with social media, you know showing how hard they are working and interacting with the fans. So that is a positive part of social media. I think with Parks, it was innocent enough. He was trying to showcase how hard he (Lynch) is working, but he can’t do it because what we do here is personal and private. But his intent was not to hurt us or a teammate.”

The much more concerning issue is the dispute that resulted in his arrest and charges being filed against him. Based on what the report says, it does not appear that Parks ever physically harmed the victim, but even so, Parks will likely face some form of discipline from the NFL.

Whether Parks ever misses a down or not, recovering from these incidents and earning the love of the fans back will be a tough road. That road begins with a genuine apology and admitting his wrong doings.

If Parks displays contrition and handles the situation appropriately, there is a scenario where he is able to recover from this week. If Parks handles the situation like Greg Hardy, who made it very clear that he felt no remorse for his actions, he will face serious public backlash.

At this moment in time, there is not much Parks can say publicly on the incident with his former girlfriend, but he certainly does not appear to be worried about how people think of him. “At the end of the day, I learn from my mistakes,” Parks said of his current predicament.

For his sake, I hope that he truly has learned from his mistakes. He needs to realize that there his actions have put him in a position where he is one bad decision from being released from this team. More than anything, one can only hope Parks learned how to properly handle these situations in the future.

The reality is that is incredibly difficult to come back from any domestic violence dispute and have people view you the same. That combined with the fact that Parks displayed incredible immaturity by not realizing what posting the videos would lead to, and with the current depth in place throughout the secondary, means  the ice around Parks is dangerously thin.