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Thursday, June 20, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

NFL: Never Fear the Law

Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League, has done just about everything he can to better the NFL.
Maybe he needs to start kicking players out of the league to set an example for the rest of the knuckleheads who we religiously watch on Sundays for seven months of the year. Or maybe we should just stop looking at professional athletes as role models.
I'm not sure what it is, but recently something has gone terribly wrong with NFL players. Every week there seems to be another meathead familiarizing himself with the justice system.
I'm convinced that either (1) the police are out to get all professional football players (2) playing with pigskin makes you innately dumber (3) NFL stars see that concussions pose a serious threat and they want to familiarize themselves with the law in case they have to make a career change or (4) these super-rich athletes just don't care about their role as community figures anymore.
I know that scenario one can't be the case. I wrote an entire column on how Donte Stallworth killed a man and only served 24 days in jail and that's not to mention that the recent Ben Roethlisberger debacle proves that some police officers would rather buddy-up with pro athletes than do their job.
Option two – playing football lowers your IQ – doesn't seem too plausible, but we can't entirely rule it out. Many NFL players spend three-to-four years in college, and although they probably don't take the most rigorous courses, they do receive some sort of education.
Plus, according to a Sports Illustrated survey, offensive tackles, centers, quarterbacks, guards and tight ends all have IQs higher than 100. Sure, the NFL may not be home to the next Albert Einstein, but at least we know there is some brainpower in the league.
Still, football is a hard-hitting game and too many shots to the head may finally be catching up to some of these players. With all of the concussions that have plagued the league recently, having a back-up profession would seem like a good idea.
Going to jail, however, is probably not the wisest way to familiarize one's self with the judicial process. They have law school for that. Option three, therefore, is completely implausible.
This leaves us with choice four – selfish athletes ignore their young fans and arrogantly live above the law. This has to be the case.
It's almost embarrassing how many NFL players have had run-ins with the law lately.
Roethlisberger has been accused of rape and all signs – plaintiff's testimony, resignation of the police officer who was at the bar and Big Ben's less-than genuine apology – lead me to believe he's guilty. Oh yeah, and the quarterback from Miami (Ohio) was previously sacked with a sexual assault lawsuit in Nevada. Weird.
Santonio Holmes will be missing the first four games of the season without pay for violating the leagues substance abuse policy. It's a good thing the Jets stacked their roster in the offseason and can do without the 2009 Super Bowl MVP for a quarter of the season.
Defensive tackle Shaun Rogers tried to sneak a loaded gun through an airport. Linebacker Joey Porter was recently suspected of driving under the influence. Wide receiver Marvin Harrison may be involved in setting up a murder.
Across the board, NFL athletes are flat-out screwing up. They either can't keep it in their pants, don't know what a designated driver is, or assault their wife/ girlfriend/ baby's mama/ or random guy at the club. It's the same sad story and I'm sick of it.
Most recently, Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman Eric Foster allegedly committed a sexual assault in the team's hotel in the early morning before the AFC Championship game. It's good to know players take their jobs seriously.
What more can Goodell do? Do players need to be kicked off teams, or worse, out of the league? I think the answer is simpler.
Instead of holding professional athletes to higher standards because they're celebrity figures, we should lower our expectations and assume every pro will screw up. This way, when a Peyton Manning comes along, we really have some one to look up to.

E-mail: andrew.wiktor@ubspectrum.com


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