Bears veteran linebacker Lance Briggs was excused from Monday’s practice for “personal reasons,” and as we later learned, it was so that he could be present at the opening of his new restaurant in California.

The issue brought a wave of conversation and debate on whether it was ethically correct for Briggs to skip practice for a personal reason that had nothing to do with health or family matters, two commonly accepted excuses for missing practice.

While initially riding the fence on this issue, I’ve taken a stance on the side of not caring that Briggs missed practice. That doesn’t mean I don’t understand where the other side is coming from. Briggs is a captain and a leader and should set a good example about work ethic by being there for the first game-week Monday of the regular season.

But Briggs is an 11-year veteran in the league, a 7-time Pro Bowler and 3-time All-Pro. Missing one practice won’t affect how he plays on Sunday. And as far as the example he sets for his teammates, anybody who has ever before been on an organized sports team knows that there is no such thing as equality from top to bottom on the roster. The same goes with American society, too. There are a privileged few, a floundering bunch, and the rest are struggling and jostling to be seen and heard. Is that fair? Well, that’s a discussion for another day. But it’s the way it is.

Because Briggs has put in the work he has throughout his career, and because he’s become one of the best linebackers in Bears history, he has earned the right to a certain privilege as long as it doesn’t affect his job performance.

My guess is that because we’re on the verge of a new Bears season, every bit of news causes a stir among the media and the fan base and gets dramatized a bit more than is needed.