NFL offseason arrests raise some interesting questions

Authored by Stew Blake on Jul 19, 2013

In a world that persistently operates on the instant news cycle via Twitter, Facebook, and hundreds of other forms of social media, professional athletes, celebrities and other notable persons will forever live under a microscope.
Is it wrong? It’s a fair question, but many will quickly say it comes with the territory. If you are in a position of influence, like say, an athlete in the NFL, you should hold yourself accountable when you make a mistake (just like we all should), but most of all, you should learn to monitor yourself.
Is it fair to have to bite your tongue even though you think what you’re about to say is harmless? Maybe not, but most regular Joes would argue that it’s the price you pay for riches as a stud athlete, and they would gladly trade shoes with said studs.
But as we’ve witnessed, well, forever, but perhaps more boldly over the last several weeks, the NFL has its fair share of glitches in the system. Yes, even the most privileged and recognizable athletes on the planet can slip up, causing society to ponder about an issue with entitlement.
On February 5, 2012, former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was just catching passes from Tom Brady in Super Bowl XLVI. Now? He’s sitting in a jail cell, 21 hours a day, after having been charged with the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd. He also may face charges in a Boston double-murder that was perpetrated in 2012.
Needless to say, it’s all shocking, sad, tragic, and so much more. A young man is dead, families are shattered, and three other young men, the most notable obviously being Hernandez, have potentially thrown their entire lives away and for what?
How does a guy with so much success in life do something so… savage? Can’t money buy happiness, or at least restrain unhappiness? The short answer to the latter would be no.
I won’t be the one to psychoanalyze Hernandez, or any of his possible culprits, but if you take the life of another human being, as Hernandez is believed to have done, forget entitlement: mental competence has to be questioned.
Regardless of whether Hernandez walks away from this or not after having his day in court, the death of Odin Lloyd will linger over the NFL for years to come. Charges of murder against Ray Lewis were dismissed in 2000, yet even after the Ravens won the last season’s Super Bowl, questions about what Lewis knew of that night were still being asked, and rightfully so.
That being said, does the wide-variety of arrests involving NFL employees this offseason mean that the NFL is facing a real problem? It’s a valid question and it certainly requires a lot more study than throwing out a few statistics.
However, in my opinion, it seems as if the NFL is mostly a victim of its own popularity, and that won’t change. With the popularity continually soaring, the magnifying glass will become larger and larger, and the arrests and crimes committed by its employees, not unlike Colts safety Joe Lefeged’s gun-related charges, will become more and more glaring.
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