Lumbering along the Dallas Sidelines, defensive lineman Josh Brent shakes hands, slams shoulder pads and drapes himself in the silver and blue garb owned by the polarizing Jerry Jones. Oh, and one more thing, Brent crashed his car only a week before, killing his friend and teammate, Jerry Brown.
Now if that sounds out of place, it should. However, under the shrouded veil of protecting the game and enhancing safety, the NFL has smothered a problem, while smoke bellows out of its seams.
The true problem engulfing NFL teams is the responsibility of the organization through the character of the players they sign and the actions they take after.
No one can envision the future, but you don’t have to be Carmen SanDiego to see the clues sprouting in multiple areas of prospective players’ lives to know trouble is on the horizon.
If Cowboy Dez Bryant can be asked about whether his Mother was a whore during the combine, then teams with the power to ask and delve into the lives of the future employees to that extent can be persecuted for their decisions after violating those sensitive topics.
Former tight end of the New England Patriots, Aaron Hernandez, is just the tip of the immense iceberg. Red flags practically punched owner Robert Kraft in the face upon picking him in the mudslide of the 4th round, but instead of heeding those warnings, Kraft took the chance on a troubled youth with questionable friends and sinister connections.
Textbook media recovery is in effect for the organization, with every person being, “duped” or, “lied to”, when all along the danger was there. Peter King of Sports Illustrated once equated an honest truth of the game by the way we take young kids with troubled backgrounds or questionable morals fame and money, as the subsequent recipe for disaster.
Why then do teams take the risk? Quite simply, there is no punishment.
If the Josh Brent situation is any indication, the owners really could care less. Players like St. Louis Rams defensive lineman, Leonard Little and free agent wide receiver, Donte Stallworth, were both responsible for killing innocent people while driving drunk, yet still found employment in the game catered to the general public.
Redemption is part of our society and everyone deserves a second chance, but when does the game become secondary to the bigger game – life. The only way to get the message across is to fine and suspend the organization’s top members for the cabinet they stocked.