Look at the news on any given day and you will most likely find a headline that includes an NFL players name and the word “arrested;” this is getting boring. As a professional, I ensure that I do not get tangled up in the law. I make deliberate decisions on a daily basis that keep me from doing anything that could jeopardize my career, or my personal life. NFL players need to do the same.
Below is a list of facts pertaining to NFL players and their relationship with the law.
- NFL Players Arrested This Year, article in the Washington Post last year
- NFL Betting – Most Arrested NFL Players, article on BetUs.com
- 1759 Google News results when you query “nfl players arrested”
I understand that going from a little cash to cash overflowing out of you pockets can mess with your head, but there is this thing called freedom and responsibility. I do not feel that the NFL does a good enough job of teaching young athletes how to be responsible with this new-found freedom.
I must point out that I do not believe that NFL players need to be “responsible” simply because they are “role models.” I do feel, however that they need to take their job seriously and let go of any bad habits that could affect their career. But, this responsibility does not solely rest on the shoulders of the athlete, the NFL needs to step in.
Take a look at any smart corporation and you will see that they have a vested interest in their assets, their workers/players. Their highest producing workers/players get all the support they need, and they are groomed through mentorship, education of the industry, and consistent progress reviews. The NFL should instill this same ideology for its organization, as the benefits will far outweigh the cost, leading to a return on investment.
The NFL will need to be intentional and deploy a well-thought out program that will groom new players in the NFL to take ownership for their new found freedom and responsibility. The program should include, but not be limited by, the following;
- Each rookie gets assigned a mentor: Think of parole officer-type of relationship.
- Mandatory reading assignments: Get some books in their hands that will empower them teach themselves what freedom and responsibility means. Each player will have to submit a book report as well.
- Community action: Every rookie and player must participate in a community action effort above and beyond what their team expectation is.
- Bi-annual progress reports: Twice a year rookies must submit personal evaluations to their coaches that measure the following; contribution to the team, the community, to myself, and to my family, and what expectations can my team have of me at this point in my career.
- Vision board: Each rookie needs to create a vision board that represents their personal and professional goals and it needs to be placed in their locker room.
I strongly believe that the NFL needs to take responsibility of the actions of its athletes. Instilling a program like this can help their effort to maintain a positive image in community. Any effort on behalf of the league would greatly impact the current trend we are reading about daily. Step up and do something about it.