Off field issues should raise concerns for NFL
September 19, 2014
As I write this, Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer has been arrested for alleged domestic violence.
Last week Adrian Peterson was arrested for child abuse, and is currently under investigation for more child abuse.
A week before that, Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for domestic abuse.
If the NFL has done one thing well lately, its certainly provided at least one storyline a week for the last month or so.
There is plenty of criticism to be handed out to the NFL and how its handled the problems thrown its way. From the league’s handling of Ray Rice to the way the Vikings botched their own situation with Peterson, the league has rightfully been under fire.
That being said, these problems are all starting from the players in the league. Obviously not all NFL players do bad things; I’m going to get that out of the way immediately.
The fact remains, however, that out of every sport, NFL players have earned the worst reputation as of late.
According to Vocativ.com, since 2010, the NFL has led all major sports in arrests with 2,466 per a population of 100,000. The NBA is in second with 2,157.
Not only does it seem like NFL players are getting arrested more than any other sport, but statistically, they actually are.
There are few positives that will come out of the recent NFL arrests, but I think there is at least one that will improve the future of the league.
In a 2010 article written by the Associated Press, pre-draft interviews were examined in further detail.
Bengal’s defensive tackle Geno Atkins said he was asked if he was straight or gay by an NFL team. “McDonald’s or Burger King?” was another question asked to the two-time Pro Bowler.
Tennessee Titan’s receiver Dexter McCluster was even asked if he could sing by one NFL executive during his pre-draft interview.
I have no idea what these questions have anything to do with being an NFL player, but then again, I’m not an NFL executive. I’m sure there are more serious questions asked during player interviews, but in light of the latest player arrests, I believe these interviews will be taken even more seriously.
It is in those interviews where teams get a chance to get to know a player, and more importantly any problems from his past.
Up until the last month or so, NFL teams have cared much more about talent than off the field issues. Wins equal money. Bottom line.
Take the Vikings for example. Adrian Peterson was deactivated for one game after he turned himself in for child abuse. He was then reactivated before being indefinitely suspended.
The Vikings were ready to let Peterson play Sunday. In fact, they probably looked forward to his offensive production after getting destroyed by the Patriots last weekend.
All of the sudden the hotel chain Radisson, one of the Vikings largest sponsors, decided to leave the Vikings. The NFL’s beer sponsor, Anheuser-Busch released a statement saying they were disappointed by the NFL’s recent incidents, and are re-considering their sponsorship.
Now that money was being lost, the Vikings finally listened.
While this has been the sad but true belief of the past, NFL teams will start to care much more about whether or not the players they draft could eventually be trouble.
This will probably begin with even more extensive background checks and reports done of NFL prospects. The interviews will more than likely be taken more seriously now than they ever have been.
For NFL teams, players’ off-the-field problems were never that big of a deal. Players do something bad, get a slap on the wrist, and are back on the field in no time.
It wasn’t until this week that Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy was taken off the field after he appealed a guilty verdict for assaulting and threatening his ex-girlfriend.
While recent news from the NFL has been awful, my hope is that NFL teams — and the league — begin to take a player’s background, and potential off-the-field issues, into far more consideration before drafting them.
Sam is a senior is Media and can be reached at [email protected] or @Sam_Sherman5.