NFL athletes break law, set poor example

I think that some National Football League players will never learn how to be properly behaved adults. The league needs to step in because yet another NFL player has been arrested.
This time, Braylon Edwards, a wide receiver for the New York Jets, was arrested for driving under the influence the day after posting 45 reception yards and a touchdown against the New England Patriots.

Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards was arrested for driving under the influence Sept. 21—only after being pulled over for having illegally tinted windows. (Photo from MCT)

In an example of strange justice, Edwards was pulled over by New York Police Department officers during the early hours of Sept. 21 for having illegally tinted windows on his vehicle. The officers discovered that Edwards was driving under the influence of alcohol only after his suspicious behavior warranted a breathalyzer test.

This isn’t the first arrest for Edwards, who was also arrested in October 2009 for punching a friend of Miami Heat basketball player LeBron James.

Edwards’ incident exposes two things about player arrests: many seem to be repeat offenders and many seem to be star players.
Fred Davis, a tight end for the Washington Redskins, has been arrested three times for speeding-related incidents this year.  In one such case, he was driving 87 mph in a 35-mph zone—a violation that ended in a hefty fine and 90-day license suspension.
But no lesson was learned—he was arrested 30 days for driving without a license.
Ninety days after that he was arrested for driving 20 mph over the speed limit.
I personally think that all of his vehicles should be repossessed by the government, sold at auction and used to fund something worthwhile in society.
Not everyone in the NFL is a criminal. Less than three percent of NFL players got in trouble with the law last year.
But many of the players who encounter legal difficulties are repeat offenders, as is the case with Edwards.
Another thing that Edwards’ case brings up is that many of the players with the legal spotlight on them off the field already had the fans’ spotlight on them on the field.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was the prime suspect in two cases of sexual assault, although both charges were dropped. Roethlisberger, however, finishing up the last game of his four-game suspension this week.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson was arrested in late June on misdemeanor assault charges after an incident in Austin, Texas.
Earlier that month, Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young was issued a citation for assault in a Dallas night club.
Former Dolphins teammates Joey Porter and Ronnie Brown were both arrested in March for driving under the influence.
Those are just the cases involving star players from 2010. It would be tedious to print all other NFL players’ wrongdoings.
NFL players are in need of some life education because Edwards is the 36th player to be arrested this year, according to a database of NFL player arrests compiled by the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The education needs to come from the NFL Players Association.

Roger Goodell has worked to curtail crime in the NFL. (Photo from MCT)

In 2006, the late Gene Upshaw, then the executive director of the association, said, “We can handle the other issues, but [player arrests] is the one that concerns me the most.”
Upshaw said this at the end of 2006, a year that included more than 35 NFL player arrests.
All of this is strange, too, because of all the professional sporting leagues, the NFL has some of the harshest punishments for players who either violate substance abuse policies or the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is one of the league’s strictest and most aware commissioners in its history. He has taken no issue with giving long-term suspensions to the likes of Adam “Pacman” Jones, Chris Henry, Terry “Tank” Johnson and Donte Stallworth.
The NFL and the law cannot stop star athletes from living glamorous or late-night lives, but shouldn’t it be the responsibility of the NFL and the NFL Players Association to look out for their own?
In the end, it can only be good for the players, the league and the fans if NFL players stop making unnecessary and harmful decisions.
The league’s image is threatened when the images of its players are damaged.


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