There is a new image that is becoming associated with our favorite NFL stars.
More often, we are seeing them off the field nicely dressed in a suit with a team of lawyers trailing behind them as they make their way to a courthouse for all sorts of crimes.
The NFL is seeing some of its best and brightest stars caught up in various legal preceedings. Whether it's drugs or battery or dogfighting or weapons charges or worse, these athletes are behaving like teenagers, and they don't seem to realize what the repercussions of their actions may be.
They are risking their entire careers for things like illegal weapons charges (Plaxico Burress), dogfighting (Micheal Vick), assault/battery (Brandon Marshall), murder (Ray Lewis, Donte Stallworth), rape (Ben Roethlisberger) illegal drugs (Vick), and probably the most common of all the crimes: DUIs.
But that isn't even the end of the list. There are guys that are not paying child support, or even worse, leaving their wife and kids and being complete deadbeat fathers. There is a reason that Antonio Cromartie left school early after playing not even a full season as a starter—has seven kids scattered across five states.
The behavioral problem in the NFL has gotten out of control. People in defense of the league will say that the trouble makers only acount for a fraction of the players. They also will cite that many players are very active in their communities. I think that is great that the players help underprivileged children, set up scholarship funds, open charities, etc., but that doesn't cancel out the negative actions of their peers.
This is a problem. This is an issue. This is whatever you would like to call it. But the bottom line is that the league needs to step up to the plate and try and figure something out.
I think we are heading in the right direction when we see Commisioner Roger Goodell bringing out his iron fist and slapping suspensions on any player that misbehaves, but as we can see, that obviously isn't enough of a deterent for the players. They still seem to think that they are above the law.
I'm not sure there is much else that can be done, because the next logical step is expulsion from the league.
Is that too extreme? Maybe. Probably. But the players have showed time and time again that they cannot be trusted to behave in a decent and respectable manner.
My question is: What's the next step?