With arrest/crimes involving NFL players becoming more common than cowboy boots at a Blake Shelton concert, the powers that be have no choice but to start taking a more serious approach to this issue. It is true that for every Aaron Hernandez you also have a Greg Olsen, who is doing his part to make a positive impact in the league. When discussing the decline in the NFL’s off the field behavior, one must be very careful not to paint the picture with a broad brush.
During his reign as league commissioner, Roger Goodell has been unapologetic when attempting to rid the NFL of concussion inducing hits and career ending injuries. It would seem the hits are now coming off the field and giving the beloved NFL a huge black eye. It seems every year we get the run of the mill misdemeanors that get very little attention and result in little more than a slap on the wrist. The latest blow dealt to the leagues reputation will certainly prove to be more impactful.
As a very promising player who just recently signed a lucrative deal making him a very wealthy player, it would seem Arron Hernandez had everything one could as for in life. The sad truth it seems, is that he has possibly thrown it all away and in the process taken the life of someones son. The question becomes why? Why would someone in his position possibly do something like this. Why not use the blessing of playing in the NFL as a platform to make a positive impact on young children aspiring to maybe one day be in your shoes. Why not take the road that has been taken by so many of your peers in the league and form charities to save lives, not take them.
This recent black eye should be enough to push the NFL into safeguarding their players not only during the regular season, but in the offseason as well. There has to be a plan implemented that can help league officials to better identify when there might be a problem on the horizon. They must work harder to establish programs for these players who come from checkered backgrounds, to try an help them make positive steps away from those environments and mentalities. This will be no easy task and they will certainly have their share of backlash to deal with, however, should they choose to ignore the problem, hoping it will just disappear, the NFL could soon disappear along with it. You cannot give a talented superstar pockets full off money and just send them off on vacation, in a society in which no one tells them no. In some cases their natural positive characteristics will flourish and they will continue to make a positive impact off the field, however, for some, it will only intensify negative characteristics and result in tragedies like the Arron Hernandez case. Just like each players individual physical talents, their psychological well-being can be drastically different as well.
We must remember that these guys are paid good money to flip a switch, play angry and with a chip on their shoulders on Sundays. In some cases, certain players find it easier to flip that switch off, whereas others may struggle. Its time for Goodell and the leagues brass to take a closer look into these players activities off the field; after all what other job catapults you to the pinnacle of success, stuffs your bank account then cuts you loose for months at a time.
Please comment and let us know what you think. Do you feel this recent happening will be enough to force the NFL into using time and resources to help their players off the field, or do they sweep it under the rug? Let your voice be heard.