Louisiana Jury Finds Galette Not Guilty of Domestic Abuse Allegation
Galette was a player-elected Team Captain for the New Orleans Saints, playing on a $42+M deal when in early 2015, a woman accused him of assault and called the police. When prosecutors investigated the alleged incident, they concluded the allegations lacked credibility and dropped all charges. The woman pursued a civil suit―seeking a “big money” settlement―but Galette refused to settle. Putting his reputation and name on the line, Galette took the matter to trial―and won. On July 12, 2017, a Jefferson Parish jury found Galette did not assault the accuser or in any way cause any injury to the accuser. The jury refused to award the accuser even a single dollar, fully exonerating Galette. Although all criminal charges were dropped and the jury fully exonerated Galette, the NFL did not retroactively reverse its two-game suspension of Galette related to the alleged incident.
In June, Galette penned an Open Letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seeking equitable treatment of Black players and an end to policies that blackball players who speak out against racism and disparity in the league. Galette’s letter applauds the NFL’s recent statement acknowledging systemic racism and the inequitable treatment of Black people in America, but Galette asks that the NFL go beyond mere words of support for the Black Lives Matter movement: Galette calls upon the league to institute policies that bring about real change.
As Galette noted in his Open Letter, Black men—including Black NFL Players—in America are seven times more likely to have encounters with law enforcement than are their white counterparts, a startling statistic experts attribute in part to institutionalized racism and systemic, and systematic oppression. Black NFL players are not immune from such adverse interaction with police, but under current NFL policies, a player merely accused of a crime can be suspended from playing even before having the opportunity to appear in court and exercise his constitutional right to prove his innocence.
This is precisely what happened to Galette related to the 2015 alleged incident. Although eventually fully exonerated, in 2015, two years before he was exonerated, the NFL suspended Galette for 2 games. When Galette was exonerated, the NFL did not reverse the suspension. As Galette points out, America’s justice system is slow, but the NFL’s quick-trigger disciplinary system can tarnish a player’s reputation before the player receives his full due process in a court of law.
The Bernard Group
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