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Pro football players setting a poor example

Zac Ruetz

Issue date: 8/28/09 Section: Sports
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Imagine for a moment that you are an NFL player with a multi-million dollar contract. Fast cars. Huge, elaborate houses. Every resource is at your disposal, as long as you have the cash. All for being what some would consider superhuman; running faster, jumping higher, and hitting harder than the vast majority of people you have come across throughout your life and career. Some play just for the bloody paycheck. Some for the thrill, the adrenaline that comes at game time. Others take it too far.

Fifty-eight National Football League players were arrested in 2008 on various charges, the most common being driving infractions involving alcohol, accounts of violence, and drug possession. Twenty-five have already been similarly charged this year, and the season has yet to begin. I'll do my best not to name specific players, as I'm sure they've been accounted for in the 24-hour news cycle more than a few times at this point.

Here's the problem with those who are on the lists for the two previous years: they continue to act like they exist above some unseen line, allowing them to exert their "superhuman" powers not on the field, but in nightclubs and on the street. The worst part is that they suffer relatively minute consequences for their actions. The prospect of a $10,000 fine will not worry an NFL player with a contract upwards of seven digits. And yet they return, time after time, playing in the game or two following their incident, with no discernable penalty outside of an infinitesimal fine, a slap on the wrist, and a blemish on their record.

The point I'd like to make isn't that NFL players are human and they make mistakes just as often as the other guy. I would merely like to point out the absurdity of some of these actions. The endless accounts of DUIs are inexcusable. A person making millions of dollars each year shouldn't be faced with the complication of finding a driver to take them out on the town should they be unable to drive back. Things like discharging a handgun in a public place or raising dogs to fight should also be out of the question, and I'm sure it's obvious who I'm referring to.

These guys are instant celebrities who are featured on television at least two nights a week, sometimes three. The concept of the 24-hour news cycle and the national spotlight hasn't dawned on them yet. Sure it's unfair that every move they make is recycled as content for weeks on ESPN's Sportscenter, but it doesn't excuse the fact that they should be treated as any other human in this country. They may be able to play harder, better, and faster than every one else, but they still fall under the same penal code as those living a street from the stadium. The funny thing is, most of us just hope for them to stay out of trouble so we can see them play on Sunday afternoons while we soak in our mediocrity and bask in their otherworldly abilities.
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In This Issue

News

  • A conversation with Major Jason Winterle
  • Budgeting 101 for college students
  • Can you name this place?
  • Case holds first annual Campus Security Fair
  • Case Western prepares to serve community
  • Have you heard about ACM?
  • Nursing "freshmen stimulus" provides support for incoming students, provokes unease
  • USG Briefs

Sports

  • Club sports & news
  • Fantasy Football
  • Gameday
  • Volleyball goes 3-1 at Wooster
  • Women's soccer takes two at JCU

Fun Page

  • Crossword Solution
  • Maze Solution
  • Sudoku Solutions

Opinion

  • "You lie:" an old-fashioned outburst
  • Buenos Aires: most romantic city?
  • Editorial: Student groups deserve credit for programming
  • Learning to be responsible
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Letters to the Editor
  • State your case photos: What would you do with an Inamori Ethics Prize?

Focus

  • All's Well in CWRU MFA/Cleveland Playhouse production of overlooked Shakespeare classic
  • Dittrick Medical History Center reopens exhibit on history of contraception
  • Fashion for the frugal: look stylish on a budget
  • Hitting the Spot: The Antlers
  • Making breakfast work for you: getting a grip on granola
  • Nintendo DS game mixes strategy and traditional RPG elements for unique, timesaving gameplay
  • The Buzz
  • The Worst Case Scenario
  • Trail of Dead coming to Cleveland

Football

  • Whalen becomes all-time passing leader in win over Rochester

Sex and Dating

  • Executing the first date

Soccer

  • Stopped at nothing: Spartans shut out No. 21 Ohio Northern

Spartan Spotlight

  • Spartan Spotlight: Andrea Wojtowicz
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