Atlanta Falcons Release Linebacker After Animal Abuse Allegation

The Atlanta Falcons cut ties with linebacker Prince Shembo on Friday. The linebacker was released by Atlanta after he was charged with felony animal cruelty.

Shembo is accused of killing the dog of his then girlfriend, Denicia Willaims, in April. He allegedly kicked the dog when his girlfriend was not there and the dog was unresponsive when Williams returned. She brought the dog to the hospital where he died. Sports Illustrated reported that necropsy tests determined the dog suffered massive internal and head injuries and died of blunt force trauma.

When the Falcons heard the news they had to be thinking not again. The Falcons have already been through a high-profile dog cruelty case with quarterback Michael Vick back in 2007. As reported by ESPN, the Atlanta Falcons brass moved swiftly by releasing Shembo and expressed disappointment to be linked to this kind of story again.

“We are aware of the charges that have been filed against Prince Shembo. We are extremely disappointed that one of our players is involved in something like this. Accordingly, we have decided to waive Prince Shembo.”

This type of allegation against Shembo can’t be a total surprise to the Falcons as he has been linked to trouble in the past. When he was playing at Notre Dame he was investigated for allegedly sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman. The woman committed suicide shortly thereafter and he was never charged.

Shembo was a fourth round draft pick by Atlanta in 2014. He played in all 16 games for the Falcons in the 2014 season, including starting in three of them. He had 32 tackles and no sacks.

This incident is another black mark on the record of the National Football League. The league has been waging a battle to clean up its image, but bad publicity just keeps on coming. The revelation of the Shembo affair, and his release by the Falcons comes on the heels of the Chicago Bears cutting defensive lineman Ray McDonald after he was arrested twice in the span of three days earlier this week, which was reported previously on the Inquisitr. These two events, plus all the Deflategate silliness, the Ray Rice domestic abuse video, the Adrian Peterson child abuse case, and the Greg Hardy domestic violence situation have left the league reeling. It all may be more than NFL commissioner Roger Goodell can handle.

Do you think the Atlanta Falcons were right for cutting Shembo so quickly, or should the Falcons have waited for the courts to rule before deciding Shembo’s fate?

[Image Source: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images]

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