Before swinging a helmet at rival players at a joint practise last week, Aaron Donald was planned for a media blitz to sell a product.
As scheduled, the tour took place on Wednesday. Donald didn't anticipate it.
The altercation between Donald's Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals took place during a practise, and when given the chance by The Associated Press to comment, Donald said: "It was just a practise. It involved football. I don't really want to talk about something that occurred during practise and go back to nothing bad that happened. My first concern is Buffalo.
Naturally, the three-time AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year and seven-time All-Pro defensive tackle faced more criticism for his reply.
The 31-year-old Donald is already regarded as one of the best players in NFL history. When his career is complete, he'll be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. One out-of-control incident during a chaotic altercation involving numerous players won't ruin Donald's reputation.
But he ought to have handled the fallout with more tact.
Donald only needed to say something along the lines of, "I regret what happened in the heat of the moment. I apologise.
All it takes is that. Everyone would have continued.
Instead, he played it down, inflaming the irate onlookers who want to see him suspended and substantially penalised for a reckless behaviour. When a 6-foot-1, 284-pound man with the strength to dominate even bigger offensive lineman on his route to sacking quarterbacks strikes someone with a helmet, it might cause catastrophic injury.
Because the event happened at practise and teams are in charge of punishing their players in those circumstances, Donald is exempt from penalty from the NFL.
Myles Garrett of Cleveland was given a six-game ban in 2019 after hitting Mason Rudolph of the Steelers over the head with his helmet during a regular-season game that aired during prime time.
Donald informed the AP that he discussed his involvement in the altercation with his teammates and coach Sean McVay, and that everything is fine.
The defending Super Bowl champion Rams will undoubtedly not bench their star player for Thursday night's NFL season opener against the Bills. However, Donald's lack of remorse won't deter people from demanding justice.
Donald has never been violent in the past. He is likeable, friendly, and approachable—qualities that superstars frequently lack. Donald is a down-to-earth athlete who is consistently cordial and pleasant, according to journalists who regularly follow the Rams. Away from sports, he's just a regular man who hasn't let his exploits and extraordinary success alter who he is.
Without a doubt, Donald is very proud. That may explain his attempt to minimise the significance of his helmet swing by characterising it as merely a practise.
Despite publicists' best efforts to steer clear of the subject, someone needed to warn him that he would be subject to specific questions about the incident during an hour's worth of interviews and to prepare some form of an apology.
When CBS Sports Radio questioned Donald about the altercation, Donald gave a similar response.
He explained, "It was only a practise." "Of course, people use phones and other devices. But I'm not going to stay here and discuss bad things that occurred during a session. My first concern is Buffalo.
Donald appears to be remorseful that the incident was recorded on tape if he says that people have phones.
Six days later, such reaction might even be more reproachable than the original deed.