Far be it from NFL players to be removed from the social media circus these days. In fact it appears to be a cottage industry. Whether it’s TMZ staking out LAX to break the Aldon Smith bomb hoax story, or some dude taking pics of Johnny Foot (Eight) ball rolling up a $20 in a Vegas bathroom (what happens in a Vegas bathroom apparently doesn’t stay in the Vegas bathroom) getting ready to partake in some recreational drug usage, or Ray Rice cold-cocking his soon-to-be wife and caught by the hotel security cameras, no one is safe at any time any where.
Throw in the fact that players still get in trouble the old fashioned way (failed drug test, DUI), Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon, he of the recent fame of being involved in the Jim Harbaugh trade, pulled a triple-triple by recently failing a drug test for pot, getting arrested for speeding and possession of marijuana, and then getting a DUI last weekend. Teammate Davone Bess was recently arrested for beating up a cop at the Ft Lauderdale airport, Viking Erin Henderson pulled a double-double of his own getting arrested on separate DUI and drug possession charges, AJ Jefferson (not Jenkins), Henry Melton, and Thomas Keiser were all arrested on domestic abuse, public intoxication, and assault charges.
Point being, I didn’t hear about a lot of these. I had to look these up. We’ve gotten to the point that getting busted as a player is getting pretty passé, unless it’s either a name player like Colin Kaepernick, or it’s a big crime, a la Aaron Hernandez. As we all know, our own team has suffered the slings and arrows of getting bad press for a bunch of players in the spotlight for various misdeeds. Throw in the high-and-mighty comments of head coach Jim Harbaugh and you have a side of shit to go along with the already beefy shit sandwich Coach has to eat.
As is obviously apparent, major fines and suspensions have done little to curtail these screw-ups. Shit, even with all the steroid busts in baseball, no one really gives a shit, provided you come up with a conciliatory mea culpa. No matter how trite or contrived. So, what next? For all intents and purposes, all these busts make Aldon’s situation look pretty mild in comparison. Or at least on par. I still think it’s only a 2 game suspension despite all the hooraw in blogland.
Chris Culliver’s case looks to be hitting the courtroom soon, so we all get to see how THAT turns out. For me, this one is a bigger deal. He faces five charges in all: felony hit and run, felony reckless driving with injury, felony possession of brass knuckles, misdemeanor hit and run, and misdemeanor driving on a suspended license. But Goodie Goodell doesn’t really come down hard on domestic abuse/aggravated assault charges. Plenty of players have beaten up their girlfriends and gotten in bar fights with little or no repercussions. Not to mention having a shit-flier of a party. Hitting children on bikes and then threatening passers-by may not be seen as a good model for their players to follow. But really, these misdeeds are not slowing down, and no one seems to care.
What do you think? Should these misdeeds be treated as a necessary part of the game? Should Goodie Goodell suspend guys harder? Ban repeat offenders indefinitely? Turn a blind eye to it, as was done for so long? The fans have shown that they don’t care one whit. Most are of a mind that if you can play, you deserve a 2nd (or 3rd) chance. As long as you are a star player. If you are a special teamer? Sorry. Don’t pass Go, don’t collect $200.00. It’s the nature of sports in America.