Cleveland Browns' Eric Mangini Insists Players Not Be Punks

Jack StentwillerContributor ISeptember 23, 2009

DENVER - SEPTEMBER 20:  Head coach Eric Mangini of the Cleveland Browns oversees warm ups prior to facing the Denver Broncos during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 20, 2009 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Cleveland Browns head coach Eric Mangini has fined an unnamed Browns player $1,701 for stealing a $3 bottle of water out of his hotel room.

While I understand that the punishment may not quite fit the crime, I give a standing ovation to this move by Mangini.

Whatever happened to the idea that adults or people in leadership should be held to a higher standard than others? Mangini's fine shows that at least his players are going to be held to an equal standard as the community at large.

It is about time that professional athletes act like professionals. There has been a cultural spiral downward, where athletes are treated like rock stars and have had irresponsible behavior and, quite frankly, acting liking spoiled punks glorified.

What's pathetic is that some are criticizing the move. They say it will make attracting free agents to Cleveland more difficult.

What has happened to us? A coach has finally demanding players start to appreciate what life is like for everyone else, and we are concerned about how it affects the team's ability to attract other spoiled athletes.

This is not to say I expect all athletes to act like mature adults. They are not. They are extremely talented individuals who are used to getting treated differently than other people. The maturing process happens a bit slower because they are largely sheltered from the responsibilities of the real world that made you and I grow up.

That does not mean, however, that as they become professionals, nobody should begin to educate them on what it is to be a responsible role-model and member of society. Mangini has sent a message, not only to his team, but to professional athletes everywhere. It is time to grow up. We should applaud him and demand all of our coaches and organizations do the same.