Junior Galette believes his offseason of turbulence is beginning to draw to a close.
Galette still has loose ends to tie. At the end of the month, he has to travel to New York to meet with NFL officials about the incident that led to his arrest in January on a domestic violence charge that was later dropped. He still has to rehab a torn pectoral muscle on his left side, a weight lifting injury that could keep him on the sideline all the way into training camp.
Galette wants to try to put the rest of it — the fallout from the arrest, the rumors he might be on the trading block, the initial concern over the severity of the injury, even the confusion caused by a video involving Galette that cropped up on social media last week — behind him.
“At this level, you can conduct yourself as good as choir boy as you want, sometimes the trouble comes to you,” Galette said. “I just want to play football again. That’s all that matters right now.”
Galette’s offseason of turmoil began with a Jan. 5 arrest at his home in Kenner. Officers responded to an altercation there involving a woman, arrested Galette and his cousin, Terrance Banks, and charged each man with one count of misdemeanor simple battery related to domestic violence.
Galette told police the woman, a “dancer,” stayed at his house the night before, then demanded money for a cab in the morning and threatened him with a knife before Banks picked her up and placed her outside the house.
Police said the woman had visible injuries and a bloody ear after an earring had been ripped out; the injuries were attributed to Galette’s dog, who became agitated because of the situation.
Kenner officials dropped the case against both men on Feb. 19, citing the fact that Kenner law requires two people to co-habitate to pursue a domestic violence charge, and no other charges were pursued.
A civil suit by the woman that alleged Galette trapped the woman in an abusive relationship over a couple of years is pending, but the case appears to be in limbo. The woman’s initial attorney dropped the case, and no new attorney has taken over. Under the NFL’s new conduct policy, Galette could still be suspended up to six games, but the veteran pass rusher remains optimistic that he won’t face harsh penalties, if any.
“As far as the news I’ve received, it’s nothing but good news, because obviously, it didn’t really look good on her part that the case got thrown before it even got to court,” Galette said. “So as far as my agent and my lawyer’s concerned, everything’s good right now, and we’ll find out at the end of the month what’s to be determined.”
Galette, who met with the media Wednesday for the first time since the incident, maintains he did nothing wrong.
“In that situation, there was nothing I could do,” Galette said. “Everything, if I could do it all over again, there’s not much different that I can do as far as what this person wants for me out of my life. You really don’t know what are the warning signs for that, if somebody’s going to cross you and try to take everything you have.”
The people around Galette have been at the center of two other mini-controversies picked up by the fan base. A week after the incident, Banks was arrested, along with two others, and charged with possession of marijuana while driving Galette’s car.
And then, in a very different sort of controversy a week ago, an Instagram video surfaced of Galette and friends talking about the size of a gold chain the Saints veteran was wearing, and one of the men in the video could be heard using a profanity and the name “Sean,” a reference some took to be a nod to Galette’s coach.
“It’s just me goofing around with my friends,” Galette said. “It was a complete misunderstanding. I spoke to Sean, you know, there’s no hard feelings at all.”
Asked by a reporter if he needed to change the people he hangs around, Galette defended the people around him.
“It’s all on me at the end of the day, it’s all on me, who I surround myself with,” Galette said. “These people, I feel like, have been loyal to me, and I’m a loyal person. At the end of the day it’s about my family and professionalism and the city I represent, so I’ve got to look at the bigger picture. I don’t have bad friends or bad people I hang around with. I’ve got people that have bachelor’s degrees and aren’t typical thugs.”
Galette, who acknowledged that he’s aware his off-the-field issues have created animosity within the fan base, apologized to Saints fans for the incidents that marred his offseason. But he’s not sure if he should feel misunderstood.
“I don’t know,” Galette said. “I’m not in the fan base. I deleted my Twitter. I’m not on social media as much, but as far as (being) misunderstood, I don’t really care. You know, I never really cared how people think or feel, that’s their business. I don’t know what they’re going through or what problems they have in their life that they would ever judge me.”
Galette, who served as the defense’s co-captain last season, said the rest of the Saints organization has stood behind him.
Throughout the offseason, Galette said, he’s been in constant conversations with Payton, and his teammates stuck by him.
“They know my intentions, my heart,” Galette said. “Sometimes I might come out a little brash and outspoken, but I’m going into my sixth year. Guys really know who I am as a person. They brought a lot of support.”
Now, Galette has a different kind of adversity to overcome.
As soon as he heard a ripping sound on the bench press two weeks ago, Galette knew something was wrong, although the fact that he could still rotate his shoulder offered a little hope. When Galette got the news that he wouldn’t need surgery, he breathed a sigh of relief.
“It’s definitely major for me that I don’t have to go under the knife, you know, have to go through the rehab, surgery and then starting all over again,” Galette said. “It really is (big), because I’ve had surgery before on my labrum, and it’s never really been the same. I was iffy about the surgery at all, but I got good news with the doctors, all I need is to rehab it now so I can come back 100 percent.”