If you know me at all, you know I love NFL football. I am a big Miami Dolphins fan and I do also root for the Minnesota Vikings as long as they aren’t playing the Phins- and that only happens once every 4 years.
But one thing that I don’t love about the NFL- or professional sports in general for that matter- is the way that players with amazing physical talent get a pass for some pretty awful off field behavior. Former Baltimore Raven player Ray Lewis is certainly one of the best examples of that (just Google him).
I will admit that after that debacle the NFL seemed to step up and do a better job handling these types of situations. But, it seems one Ben Rothlisberger has slipped through the cracks (again, Google him if you aren’t aware of his shady past). He is in what is almost certainly his last season in the league, and you can’t turn on any NFL related show without someone singing his praises. And yes, he has had a very good career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. But he’s no saint, and quite frankly it bugs me that no one I’ve listened to has even mentioned it once.
And don’t even get me started on DeShawn Watson. While at least his off field antics have gathered a LOT more media coverage than most of his counterparts, he was still pursued heavily by several teams, including (reportedly) my very own beloved Phins.
I’m not saying that players need to be perfect angels. I understand that there are a fair number of players coming out of very rough situations in their earlier lives. I understand that everyone makes mistakes. But I’m not talking about speeding tickets or shoplifting at 14 here. I’m talking about felonies. Ruining others’ lives. Patterns of illegal activities.
No matter what Charles Barkley thought, professional athletes ARE role models. They need to take that responsibility seriously and be removed from the ranks if they don’t. Period. End of story. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Again, I will say that the NFL has gotten better, but this season has shown how far they still have to go.