NFL's Criminal Element: 10 Strangest Law vs. Athlete Moments of the Last 5 Years
Whether it's the result of a meddling media blowing issues out of proportion or a complete lack of perceived consequence that stems from the unprecedented wealth and entitlement of the modern athlete, hearing an NFL star's name in the police blotter has become about as expected as a chorus of boos enveloping anyone who shares a platform with Gary Bettman.
Sure, it's not just football stars getting into trouble, but the league sure has its share of athletes seeking the notoriety that comes with Marv Albert's dentures.
Any newspaper that has a section devoted to obituaries (which is all of them) could easily use that same template to list the roster of athletes getting their hands cuffed. It kills their reputation for about two days, as unlike the dead, perspective on the modern athlete is fickle and temporary.
If the equivalent of how quickly angry Americans forgive their sinful icons correlated with a resolution for actual death, we'd all be boarding our windows, arming with shotguns, and asking George A. Romero how he "knew they would rise."
Possession of a weapon.
Possession of marijuana.
There's a laundry list of common violations in the cookie jar, and it seems like the modern athlete either takes his notes from Cookie Monster (and perhaps his I.Q.) or the media just can't get enough coverage of yummy baked goods.
It's a good thing that we have Roger Goodell's cat o' nine tails to keep the murderous players NOT named Roethlisberger in line.
The fines barely dent players' handsome checkbooks, fans seem to equate two touchdowns as the tonic for villainy, and many of these men simply don't learn anything from their mistakes.
Just ask Santonio Holmes, who had 900 miles between South Beach (5/27/06: disorderly conduct) to Columbus (6/19/06: domestic violence) to get a clue.
Yet, for all of the iniquitous players who turn a blind eye to the law, soliciting aversion from a blind public that will ultimately just pardon them, there are a select few who take criminality to a level of unpredictability that would rival the Metrodome roof, Bill Buckner's glove or the Chiefs winning nine games in 2011.
Why do people get mad? Because in spite of all of their wealth, resources and good fortune, a vast majority of athletes, like the vast majority of people, make bad decisions.
Fairly or unfairly, the public holds role models to a higher standard, at least for a little while. Yeah, money leads to temptation, but can't it lead to comfortable lifestyles of suburbia....once in a while?
Athletes, like people, will be stupid.
And, of those, some strive to be artistically stupid.
"This town needs a better class of criminal, and I'm gonna give it to 'em."
-The Joker ("The Dark Knight")
The Darwin Awards, named for scientist Charles Darwin, are a macabre, tongue-in-cheek honor often used to recognize the strangest, silliest deaths.
So, where's the award for arrests?
Consider this my macabre, tongue-in-cheek countdown of immaturity from men who are supposed to be role models (but spoke to Charles Barkley).
In an ground-breaking era of ALC (Athletic Legal Comedy), the media trumpets as loudly as ever for its star malefactors!
Here are the 10 oddest legal...interventions?...of NFL players during the last five years (since 2006).
No. 10: Viking Voyage
As if Mike Tice wasn't already about to lose the the six stray hairs at the forefront of his scalp, members of his Minnesota football team decided that their Viking Voyage would be one to remember.
Men and women gathered on two boats, and after a night of blowing kisses into the sea, charges were brought up against members of the team for their lewd behavior.
Maybe it's just a good thing that Vikings don't often get sea-sick?
Among the players, quarterback Daunte Culpepper was sighted, so it's most fun to pick on the quarterback. Thus, I will. See the picture?
Maybe this was a bit too X-rated for "The Bachelor," but former Viking Leif Ericson and his wife Thorgunna would be proud! After all, without moments like these, their son Thorkell Liefson would've never completed their own happy love boat!
No. 9: Facebook Falcon
Little Quinn Ojinnaka dreamed of a world where he could be part of the social media.
Facebook preceded Ojinnaka's dream come true.
He signed up for an account, and he made a few nice friend-fakes.
His wife didn't like a few of the friends of a more curvaceous variety, so she attempted to stab him in the leg with a pen.
He threw her into (or down) a flight of stairs, though accounts vary.
Social media had become a nightmare for big Quinn Ojinnaka.
Sadly, with MySpace socially outdated, our poor athlete is left with only his Twitter account to get him through lonely cyber-nights.
No. 8: Sour Brawn Sauerbraun
In some cases, it's not the crime that intrigues us. It's the conversation preceding it.
"Yeah, got home, kissed the wife, went to bed, propped the pillow and got to catch a 'Cheers' rerun."
"Oh! (chuckles) Some nights just work out."
"Yeah, they sure do!"
"You know a show I really liked back in that day? "Frasier!"
"Oh, that was good, too! I appreciate Kelsey Grammer's comedic style, but I really thought "Cheers" was relatable."
"I think I liked Frasier a lot better."
"Better than "Cheers?"
"Heck, better than "SEINFELD!"
Yeah, that's worth getting arrested for, or in this case, sent to detox and sentenced to 24 hours of community service.
No. 7: Dancing Dhani
Dhani Jones was arrested for what reporters referred to as dancing.
For a brief moment in time, it's fully possible that every tango teacher on the East Coast began packing up their outfit like a busted meth lab.
Yet, according to officers, Dhani wasn't arrested for dancing, but dancing in the street.
Apparently, after ignoring a "lawful command," Jones was arrested.
After his quick two-step and a night in the clink, Dhani was back out in public, continuing his anarchist manifesto with a raging riverdance and a demonic "Disco Duck."
No. 6: Kiel's Cough
I admit to seeing this on an episode of "Friday Night Lights," but I can't imagine the buzz that would surround a live arrest of an NFL player...during practice!
Doesn't anybody take their camcorders to things anymore? (Belichick? Wink?)
It turns out Terrence Kiel, the team's strong safety, was not arrested by the police.
It was the Drug Enforcement Agency, DEA for short, reeling him in for possession and intent to distribute cough syrup.
I'll bet if it didn't have codeine, he'd have gotten away with the whole thing!
No. 5: "Lookin' Like a Fool with His Pants on the Ground..."
Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cedric Griffin was in with the fad. With his pants hanging down, he enjoyed an evening at the Spin club in Minneapolis.
Unfortunately for the corner, he was unable to put any "spin" (HA!) on his outfit, convincing club personnel to escort him from the premises.
The business claimed a strict dress code that included pants being no further down that the waist. Apparently, he and the bouncers did not agree on his fashion sense.
Griffin took one for every person who enjoys a summer breeze, pleading his case so well that he was arrested for disorderly conduct.
Suspenders and belts may be out of style, but they're not IN the slammer. Cheesy?
Well, so are Cedric's jeans! So cheesy it was criminal....
No. 4: Would You Like Fries with That?
No. 3: Armed, but Not Legged
It's one thing to violate a city ordinance by taking a weapon into a crowded night club to protect yourself from the random guy with the firearm.
It's another thing when you're the random guy.
Plaxico Burress is a wide receiver, explaining why he's never heard the word safety.
A bullet to the leg and nearly two years of incarceration are probably more than enough punishment for such an embarrassing moment.
In one of the few examples of a rich athlete serving due justice for a crime, Burress was arrested for carrying the gun into the club, Latin Quarter.
This is worth noting as a portion of the public argued that he shouldn't be arrested since he shot himself.
Really, folks? That was the issue in your brains? Not the gun, but the thigh?
And this countdown claims the athletes are the silly ones...
No. 2: Louis Murphy's Most Embarrassing Arrest in Sports History
On an early Sunday morning, Louis Murphy drove down the road, speakers blaring, enjoying his favorite music.
Not uncommon in residential areas, the player was pulled over for the amount of noise resonating from the vehicle.
He refused to show police I.D., a move that will make sense within a few sentences.
Upon inspection of the vehicle, and after an attempt to arrest Murphy, police noticed 11 pills in an unlabeled container.
It turns out that one of Al Davis' bunnies (or should I say jack rabbits? - budda-bumb-ching!) was hopped up on something that he didn't want people to know about.
As the medication was unprescribed, police confiscated it from him.
I'm guessing that Murphy later found it again somewhere else, but I'll be he was sure miffed about his girlfriend learning about all of that...Viagra.
From stiff me up to lock me up, Louis Murphy had a bad day!
No. 1: Potty Humor
What happened to the day when kickers were just lovably uncoordinated buffoons that tried to field blocked kicks and nearly cost their team undefeated seasons? (How've you been, Garo?)
Inviting ex-Steelers kicker Jeff Reed to a house party requires a few preventative measures, as follows:
a) Double check your supply of toilet paper, paper towels, napkins and tissues. In fact, to be safe, also have a handkerchief playfully set aside for his stay.
b) And, it's probably best to make sure you have everything else well in stock, too.
Reed felt strongly about defending the rights of the restroom-deprived against the villainy of law enforcement foolish enough to try to stop them.
As teammate Matt Spaeth urinated next to his white SUV, officers pulled aside to address the situation.
Undaunted by the flashing red and blue lights twirling about their Cop-mobile, Reed exited the vehicle and, in a heroic gesture, defended the rights of individuals to empty their bladder at the time and place of their choosing!
It should be noted that Reed is an equal opportunity pee protector!
Reed was arrested for disorderly conduct, all in the name of brotherhood!
Instead of "1,001 Flushes," it seems Reed has probably had 1,001 brushes...with the police. In fact, this was not the first time Reed was arrested for toilet matters.
In New Alexandria, Reed used the restroom at Sheetz.
As any "civil" person does (which clearly, Reed is civil), he washed his hands, and then....
Of all the indignities....
He noticed the paper towel dispenser was empty.
(Did he bother to look for the automatic hand dryer? Or did he figure he was already exposed to too much hot air?)
Employees reported hearing massive banging and the sound of crashing metal. Indeed, Reed had beaten the dispenser with his fists. By now, his hands were very dry, and the box was very wet (and dented!).
Apparently, despite the kicker's apparent thoughts to the contrary, authorities in Pennsylvania frown on using the dispenser as the towel in emergency situations.
Reed scolded employees profanely before having his head lowered into the back seat of a big white car, which was a lot better than his earlier position in the paper-less restroom on a big white seat.