Remember the good old days when professional athletes were clean cut examples of all American goodness?
Yeah, me either.
These days, it seems to be a rite of passage for professional athletes to have some form of police record or another.
Most recently, San Francisco 49rs Aldon Smith has been arrested on suspicion of DUI. On top of former Patriot Aaron Hernandez’s arrest and indictment for murder, it seems there is no limit to just how low we can go when it comes to athletes behaving badly.
One would think with all the money, fame and opportunity gained by their celebrity, these people would lead exemplary lives, inspiring youth and making their fans proud to cheer for them.
Not so. It seems the athletically rich and famous are not immune to the lure of danger illegal activity brings. It seems many are simply prone to offend, as shown by multiple violations of drug policies by numerous professional athletes across the board.
Could it that they are too well-paid, too famous, too privileged to understand the weight of the law can and will come down upon them if they are rash enough to break it?
In fact, the weight of law has been light for the most part; the heaviest falling on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick after his conviction on dog fighting charges. Given a second chance, Vick appears to have made a complete turnaround and has toed the line since.
Perhaps we as a society place too much significance upon these young men who showcase their physical skills across millions of televisions every week. The fact that many of these players continue to reap the rewards of their employment after these incidents is both disturbing and disheartening. We as a people have no desire to see wrong-doing go unpunished, but we are quick to either condemn or defend “celebrity” when it comes to violations of the very rules that keep our society civilized.
In many cases we find the charges groundless, but who is to say for certain? Why aren’t more athletes held fully accountable for their bad acts as any “normal” person would be for the same thing? Charges left unprosecuted or simply dismissed down to minimal violations with barely any repercussions appear on the dockets of far too many courthouses across the country.
USAToday.com reports no less than 46 mostly active NFL players arrested in the past year. This is weeding out traffic violations. The offenses are shocking, including DUI, drug possession, gun possession, and domestic violence, just to name a few. What is even more unfathomable is the lack of resolution to many of these cases. Thirty-four of the 46 arrests are “resolution undetermined” as of this writing. In some cases the charges were dropped. In far too few, the player in question was released from his team. One was allowed to retire from the NFL one month after his incident.
Is it too much to ask that these men, so prominent in the public eye, comport themselves with dignity and respect for law and general rules of acceptable behavior? Is it fair for us, the fans to expect better of them? Perhaps we should expect better of ourselves, and stop lauding them so highly for nothing more than physical ability and pure luck.
Written By: Brandi Tasby