Ben Stecker is a native of Colville, Washington. An avid sports and fantasy fan, he occasionally contributes his commentary here at Herring Bone Sports. Ben is passionate follower of the Denver Broncos, Washington State University, and the Seattle Mariners. Ben currently works on national campaign media in Washington, DC. Previous articles from Ben can be found below.
If you are a fan of the NFL, then you’ve heard the horrendous train of stories that have hit the news over the past two weeks. Four star-caliber players have had run-ins with the law for various reasons, two of them for DUI’s. Titans WR Kenny Britt and Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch, both with spotted histories when it comes to the law, apparently enjoyed themselves a bit too much this past week and wound up playing their own version of Otis Campbell (pictured above).
A week prior, two other NFL stars hit rough patches. Broncos DE Elvis Dumervil let his road rage get the best of him flashing a firearm to another driver, and Dez Bryant was charged with assaulting… his mother? Seriously dude - that’s just not cool. Go back a month and you’ve got Jaguars rookie, and 2012 top NFL Draft pick, WR Justin Blackmon getting tagged for a DUI and the lists just goes on and gets more famous.
So what’s the deal? It really does seem like you can’t turn on ESPN or go to a sports website without seeing a story about some NFL player getting busted, and most of the time it’s a DUI. Why is this happening? Are they just bored? Maybe. Do they feel above the law? Probably.
I think it comes down to a reality check. Think on it – how many 20-22 year olds do you know that are the popular kids in college and then given millions of dollars in their first job? Some of them before they even graduate? Outside of professional sports, this doesn’t happen. Lawyers, doctors, engineers all need extra school and MUST get a full degree before cashing lucrative checks. These kids go through their entire youth as super-stars. They didn’t pay for college and haven’t had to be responsible for much outside showing up on the field of competition. Stories on the opposite end of the spectrum often revolve around athletes taking on the parental role for an entire family at a young age. Either way - they’ve NEVER had a normal what most consider a “normal” lifestyle.
In their first years in the “real world” as made millionaires and we think they’re gonna be responsible adults? Nonsense. This isn’t to say they don’t, or shouldn’t, strive to be responsible adults. With over 1,000 NFL athletes, even if only 10% of the guys put into this situation flounder - that’s 100 players and 10 million news stories. Mistakes and missteps are gonna happen. The question is – Can anything or more be done?
There are a couple things that might help. I’d start with making every NFL player have a personal driver. You can’t get a DUI if you aren’t driving. This person could be their personal manager or the guy who makes sure they don’t assault someone in a club, or in Dez Bryant’s case over the family dinner table. (Once again - Seriously dude?? Your mom?) Having a personal manager not only can keep you from showing someone on a freeway the gun in your pants (Elvis Dumervil), but it could also serve as a positive witness for you when you are potentially wrongfully accused (Adrian Peterson). The benefits are endless. If I’m running an NFL team, I make this mandatory with all my players -I’ll fork out the $60-80K a year for each driver’s salary.
Next up I’d also look at a gun ban across the National Football League. I’m not against our 2nd Amendment rights. For these guys safety I’d like an NFL rule that states:
Any player caught with a firearm in public without a lawful permit will be subject to immediate and permanent dismissal from the NFL.”
The thought of never playing again ought to scare the bejeesus out of them. It doesn’t say you can’t have a gun in your house, or go to a shooting range. It says you can’t Elvis Dumervil someone.
A final option - initiation. No, I don’t mean having them climb the fence around the White House and steal a flower from the flower bed before the Secret Service practices their open field tackling form (though that might be good training). Force the rookies to live with seasoned veterans for the first year or two their in the league. Put them in constant contact with someone who has been there before and can teach them how to handle the pressure. Help bridge the gap between owning a college campus and being an NFL star.
Sure, these solutions might seem far-fetched, but something’s gotta give to rein in these kids. It is ridiculous that you can’t go a summer without a flurry of stories reporting players mishaps with the law. Help them help themselves. The alternative is to just stand by and expect things to get better, to which I have one thing to say:
- Ben Stecker, HerringBoneSports.com Contributor
More articles from Ben below ↓
Comment With Facebook, Yahoo!, AOL, Hotmail