Final thoughts: Gucci-gate
The Tatum Bell-Rudi Johnson bag-stealing story is bound to peter out eventually. In Detroit, it's already being overshadowed by mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's plea deal and resignation. Bell will get another job eventually, though it wouldn't surprise me at all if he spent the rest of this season on the sidelines. Johnson, too, will get over his missing money and pilfered Perry Ellis boxers.
The Lions still are refusing to show anyone surveillance video of the incident and likely will keep that under wraps unless someone in the Allen Park Police Department gets the novel idea to investigate a theft. There's tragedy in that decision, though, either in the organization's decision not to pursue charges (a player had money and clothes stolen out of their locker room, after all) or the team's failure to come to the defense of an ex-player wrongly accused of something that could affect his ability to get another job (think someone wants a thief in the locker room?). Which one depends on your point of view.
I understand the Lions have heard different versions of the same story from different people, probably don't want to alienate Johnson, and certainly, like most of us who have talked to both sides, can't say definitively what happened.
But as improbable as Bell's story sounds, especially since the bags belonged to the man brought in to replace him, his description of events (where he took the bags from, the time of day, etc.) and the fact the bags had no identifying marks on the outside (according to Johnson) make it believable. One organizational higher-up even said today he thinks there is some truth to Bell's version.
Unless there's more to report in terms of a police investigation or I finally get in touch with Victor DeGrate, the ex-Lion who Bell said he was grabbing the bags for, this will be my final words on Gucci-gate. But if I'm Bell's agent and Bell's story is true, I'd be on the Lions to release the tape and clear my client's name. It won't end all dispute, but if he wasn't rifling through the bag or looking suspiciously around the locker room and darting to his car, it would at least support his version of events.