Does Crime Pay for Professional Athletes?

Does Crime Pay for Athletes?

The National Football League (NFL) seems to be laced with players who make a load of money but are not positive role models of society.  The NFL is sending the message that it is okay to be a “Bad Boy” just play well on the field.  Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle is now on the forefront after stealing underwear lands him a reward. Randle committed a crime and was rewarded with an endorsement. Does crime pay for athletes?

The NFL fined Randle $29,500 after he was caught shoplifting last week.  Not only did this NFL player steal underwear, he was also caught trying to steal cologne from a department store. Within a week Randle has gone from stealing underwear to becoming a spokesman for MeUndies, a Los Angeles based lifestyle brand.  The company is paying him enough to defray the cost of his fine; in other words they are bearing the weight of his consequences which reduces the change of a positive lesson being learned.

While trying to recover from their biggest hit this year involving Ray Rice, the NFL is back in the media again for the wrong reason.  Rice, ex Ravens running back, was arrested in an Atlantic City casino after he was caught dragging his unconscious fiancée out of an elevator.  Initially, the league only suspended him for two games but when the media refused to bury it like so many other crimes have been they felt obligated to dismiss Rice completely from the NFL.

Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers was cited for marijuana possession and driving under the influence.  He is the starting running back for the team but has set a horrible example for those looking up to him, on and off the field, with his behavior.

Sean Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs was arrested for reckless driving, driving under the influence and without insurance after he ran into a light pole with his vehicle.  To Smith’s credit, he seems to have stayed out of trouble since that incident but received no suspension for his behavior.

Marcell Dareus of the Buffalo Bills was arrested twice since May.  He has been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and a controlled substance.  Later he was arrested for participating in an alleged drag race which resulted in a car accident.  His fate has not been finalized regarding the street racing, but his felony charge will be dropped after he completes a NFL substance-abuse program.

Defensive end Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers is a stellar player full of promise but failed to keep his hands off his girlfriend.  He was arrested after threatening and assaulting her.  Hardy is now suspended until his legal problems are finalized.  Although found guilty in July, Hardy is still receiving pay until his appeal is resolved.

This is just a small representation of the players within the “Bad Boys” club but it seems membership is alive and well. Randle has rendered an apology, but called his actions a mistake.  His actions were not a mistake, they were deliberate and without true consequences. Randle released the following statement:

There is no excuse for my mistake last week, and I take full responsibility for my actions. I let down my coaches, teammates, and family. My agent and I have spent a lot of time looking for ways I can turn my situation into a learning experience for young people. Partnering with MeUndies allows me the opportunity to give back to others less fortunate than myself, and spread a positive message of not making the same mistake twice.

Joseph Randle did not make a mistake when he stole underwear; he committed a crime.  The problem is his consequences were interrupted by an endorsement.  The NFL fined the Dallas Cowboys player $29,500 which will now be covered by the money received from MeUndies.  This sends the message that it is okay to be a “Bad Boy” as long as they score on the field.  Within a week Joseph Randle has gone from stealing underwear to becoming a spokesman for it. The question remains, “Does crime pay for athletes?

Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)



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