NFL Policy Needs Stiffer Penalties for Players with Criminal Behavior
Featured Columnist Brian DiTullio recently wrote a column about players who take the tougher road to become role models in the NFL. I think it was a great piece—regardless of the names mentioned or not mentioned.
It got me thinking, since the beginning of the NFL there has been a continued trend of players thinking they are above the league and the law.
I also began to wonder how it is possible for a player who killed another human being or attempted to kill a person, or someone who has caused physical harm to someone else, to be allowed back in the league to play a game that so many would relish an opportunity to play.
And to come back to make millions of dollars.
Why is it that the NFL will reward players like Ray Lewis, Donte Stallworth, and Adam "Pacman" Jones—among many others—with multi-million dollar contracts after these individuals have displayed a total disregard for life.
These are not small crimes they are committing; these are serious allegations—murder, attempted murder, killing an individual while driving under the influence of alcohol.
It happens time and time again and yet these guys are still playing football. What message is the NFL sending to the families of the victims? That it is okay for players to act foolishly, that there is no severe consequence for their actions?
It is despicable to have these men permitted to come back into the league and potentially become "role models" (notice the quotations) for the nation's youth.
Is this really what we want our children to look up to? Seeing that these men commit serious crimes and then get away, for the most part, scott free?
Sure there are fines involved but when you look at the amount of the fine compared to what these players are making—it's pocket change.
That right there is what makes these players think they are above everything else. There is no significant policy in place by the NFL that says "if you cause physical harm to another human being, and it is found to be your fault, you are out of the league."
I know that if I got drunk and got behind the wheel and, god forbid, I caused serious harm to another person, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to afford that bail and I'd be sitting for a very long time in a cubic cell with steel poles keeping me contained.
Here's what I think needs to happen: The fines I list are what the NFL should require, state fines are separate.
Murder or attempted murder: You are out of the league forever and all of that season's salary will be handed over to the league as fines—no ifs, ands, or buts about it. You screwed up now live with it. This also includes drunk driving that results in a person's death.
Aggravated assault: Eight-game suspension and half of that year's salary.
Disorderly conduct: Four-game suspension and one quarter of that year's salary.
That's my base plan, I'm not the commissioner of the NFL so it is up to him to finish the list—or should I say revise it.
I won't hold my breath though!
I am sure I will hear the argument "but these are high caliber players that the teams' success depends on."
Stop it right there folks; I don't care and I don't want to hear it!
While the NFL is a business, football is just a game. The actions of some of these players alter the lives of the victim and their families. I'm an Eagle fan and yes, if DeSean Jackson goes out and kills someone tonight, bye bye Jackson, you are done in the NFL.
I use DeSean merely because he is the standout player on the Eagles roster, not because of his actions. DeSean has been a complete professional in his young career.
At some point the league will rid itself of these self-centered players and the game of football will be greatly improved in the long run. The NFL's PR department staffers would have a lot less stress in their lives trying to find reasons why they've allowed these boneheads back in the league.
In conclusion, I am going to repeat myself but it is to drive home the point of the entire column: If you want to act like a child, get out of the league and let someone else have an opportunity.
It will never happen though; all these players care about is themselves!
They must be held more accountable for their stupidity, but until that happens NFL fans across the world should expect to see much of the same—ignorant players who think they can pay their way out of trouble!
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