Should Packers OLB Erik Walden Play Sunday Against the Giants? All Green Bay Packers All the Time

One day after being released from Brown County jail, Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Erik Ealden made an appearance in front of his teammates to offer an apology for the actions that led to his arrest early Friday morning over a domestic assault incident with his live-in girlfriend.

“I want to apologize to the entire organization, my teammates and the fans,” Walden said. “It’s an ongoing process and I respect that process. It’s just unfortunate that I brought something negative for so much positive that’s going on with this organization. I’m cooperating fully.”

The apology sounded sincere, a far cry from the immature ramblings of a certain offensive line stomper from Detroit.

Recent developments in Walden’s case also make it questionable if Brown County District Attorney John Zakowski will further pursue charges in the case. Walden’s live-in girlfriend has since changed her story from last Friday, adding that she was the aggressor in the dispute and that Walden was simply acting in self-defense. According to the Journal Sentinel, Walden’s next hearing in the case will be on Dec. 7.

Walden’s apology and these recent developments beg the simple question from a football standpoint: Should Walden play against the Giants this Sunday?

Walden said on Tuesday that he understands if he doesn’t play on Sunday, answering “absolutely” when asked about the possibility. Still, the NFL won’t pursue any kind of suspension with the case still in the discretion of the District Attorney. The Packers could suspend him or make him inactive if they felt he wasn’t ready to play, but I’m guessing the NFLPA would have a big issue with any kind of suspension for Walden.

So if the Packers feel he can go, why shouldn’t Walden be able to play against the Giants?

The Packers organization, like us all, have to assume that Walden is innocent until proven guilty. Walden has no prior record, and as I stated above, his apology in front of his teammates sounded sincere.

Until Walden is charged in Brown County or any additional details are released, Walden should be given every chance to start opposite of Clay Matthews on Sunday like he has in all 11 games this season. Far too many fans have tarred and feathered Walden despite not knowing everything that happened. They read, “Walden spent the weekend in jail” and immediately assume that everything they’ve read about the situation is reality. Chris Cook’s domestic assault incident in Minnesota a few weeks ago didn’t do Walden any favors either.  It’s unfair to both Walden and the process.

Walden’s teammates gave him plenty of support on Tuesday, too.

Jarrett Bush said this to the Green Bay Press Gazette:

“I know it’s tough…you’ve got to pick up your brother, pick him up, dust him off. He apologized to the team. That’s all you can do. I’m pretty sure no one intended for that to happen, stuff happens, I’m the first one to say, ‘Hey man this is crap that just went down’ but … everybody knows in life sometimes crazy things happen.”

Right tackle Bryan Bulaga added that the leadership in the Packers locker room won’t let Walden’s spat become a distraction.

If Walden doesn’t look any different from a football standpoint on the practice field this week, and is mentally ready with the defensive gameplan, expect No. 93 to be in the starting lineup again on Sunday against the Giants.


Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

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10 thoughts on “Should Packers OLB Erik Walden Play Sunday Against the Giants?

  1. all im sayin is if i was born today.i would want to be born a have know chance in this ex-girlfriend did that to me also and i was not even in the same state was she accused me but, they put me in jail for a day anyway until i could prove where i was at the time of the have no chance in this world,if they are accused of DV.just pray u can prove otherwise……cant wait for all the negative comments.but dont say crap until u lived through mr walden your going to need least his girlfriends mother is in his corner,that says equal rights here at all guys

  2. To not allow Walden to play because of this yet to be determined 5 W’s,will make the ORG seem one step too close to Divinity in it’s expected integrity of it’s employed.
    The fan base is akin to those in a Roman gladiator arena with thumbs already pointing up or down.Hopefully TT and MM aren’t acting the role of Decider and allow Walden to hold his head high until the Law of Our Land casts Her thumb vote to us.

  3. ya, now we are supposed to believe the woman beat herself up. look, the packers ain’t the raiders, the bengals, the cowboys, the vikings. they play in a small town, populated by salt of the earth basically decent people. the franchise pretty near went under in the 80s because of a succession of “incidents”. i would let him draw his paycheck but make him inactive for the game. he embarrassed himself and the organization.

  4. wim,were u a fly on the wall at the Walden residence when this happened.salt of the earth decent people DONT ASSUME what happened.its obvious Ur either a woman or a man who is so henpecked he cant see straight.the only embarrassment is you.her own mother is on walden’s side HELLO that says everything to me…..INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. wimmy ur a joke. aint that the truth

  5. I don’t see why he should be held out unless and until he’s convicted of anything. It’s pretty easy to lie or skew a story to rely on what “she” said and it happens too often as it is. Let him play. Besides, from what I read, she HIT and he PUSHED. She’s the one who should be facing charges, if that’s the case. So, I say, don’t let “HER” play.

  6. To the question at hand: coaches decision. They have more information than the general public, I trust their integrity.

    As to some of the prior comments here all I can say is, ‘wow’.

  7. As with anything in life today, the scum sucking lawyers will have the last say. GB is probably helpless in any decision. If they decide to suspend, the PA will file an appeal (see Suh). Only after the appeal process will the Packers have a say in the decicion.

  8. They should let him play unless the league, for some reason, thinks it’s egregious and likely enough that he committed the crime that they suspend him without a conviction (see: Roethlisberger).

    If Walden IS found out to have done it, I wouldn’t only suspend him, I’d cut him. If he only gets charged with “disorderly conduct” or something though, that’s not enough.

  9. Because both Walden and the girlfriend seem to be on the same page as to what occurred (that she was hurt in the process of Walden defending himself) I don’t know whether the legal system or the Pack can punish him. If she sticks with this story I’m guessing the D.A. drops the case(absent some witnesses who present a different scenario than Walden & girlfriend).

    If I were part of the Packers brass I would ask Walden directly “Did you assault her?” If he says of course not, then I’d respond, “OK, but if we find out you’re lying about this you’re off the team immediately.” Else, we’ll play you like we have all season.


    My guess is that the girlfriend was miffed about his trip to Atlanta (angry about having to care for two little ones and maybe suspicious about who he’s going to hang with there) and let her feelings known. He probably said something to the effect of “I pay the rent so I’ll do whatever I want”. From there she began shouting at Walden maybe even pushing him. He then grabbed her hand injuring her finger and threw her against a nearby wall where she sustained cuts and swelling.

    In other words, I believe he probably did assault her, but if the two people who know for sure say something different, and she’s not being coerced, I don’t know if the Pack or the D.A. could or should do anything.

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