Phillip Merling: Oh, baby

A Dolphin gets flagged for illegal hands to face; plus, Zach Randolph resurfaces
By MATT TAIBBI  |  June 2, 2010

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FOUL FISH Dolphins defensive end Phillip Merling is accused of hitting his pregnant girlfriend in the face.
Another week, another gnarly, violent crime against women committed by an NFL player. This week, the foul news emanates from down South, where Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Phillip Merling was busted for assaulting his pregnant girlfriend.

The incident reportedly took place last Wednesday at the couple’s home in Weston, outside of Miami. There aren’t many details, other than the fact that Merling was accused of striking his girlfriend — who is two months pregnant with the couple’s second child — in the area of the face and neck. Merling had a court appearance on Thursday in which he was charged with “aggravated battery on a person he should have known was pregnant.”

The NFL has racked up a very nasty record of violent incidents involving players and their pregnant wives or girlfriends. The city of Miami has some background with this sort of crime — call it the Randy McMichael Experience, so named after the Dolphins tight end who was arrested back in 2004 for striking his wife, Cawanna, while she was pregnant. In that one, McMichael came home late after a night out drinking with the fellas, something that apparently didn’t make Cawanna happy. When McMichael went into the bathroom to puke up his booze, she reportedly screamed at him and started whacking him across the head. McMichael responded, depending on whom you believe, either by pushing her to the ground or by whacking her himself.

The McMichael case is far from the only pregnant-battery instance involving an NFL player. The most notorious, of course, is the Rae Carruth case, in which the former Panthers wideout had his eight-months-pregnant girlfriend, Cherica Adams, killed in a murder-for-hire deal. Other pregnant-whacking incidents have involved the likes of receiver Jerome Mathis (charged with choking his common-law wife in 2008, when he was with the Texans), former Bucs running back Lionel Gates (accused in March 2007 of busting a pregnant woman’s apartment door down and assaulting her following an argument over paternity allegations), and Lions safety Kalvin Pearson (charged in 2008 with choking his girlfriend in her SUV).

Merling has had a rough spring. In April, he saw the Dolphins draft a player at his position in the first round (Jared Odrick of Penn State), and it was only last week that Miami papers were talking about what a critical offseason this was going to be for his career. Give him 88 points, and expect NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to slap him with a suspension if there’s anything to these charges.

Jail Blazer redux
Well, it’s about time. It seems like it’s been forever since a former member of the legendary Portland Jail Blazer squad has gotten in trouble for something.

One of the most infamous members of that team was forward Zach Randolph, perhaps best-known for being accused of waking up a drunken woman by jamming his cock in her ass. Randolph, who currently plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, has been implicated in a drug bust in Indianapolis, where police are saying that a man arrested on suspicion of dealing marijuana was caught in Randolph’s Cadillac Escalade. According to the Indianapolis Star, a detective described Randolph as a “financier” for known drug dealers in the Indianapolis area.

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