Murder, assault, rape, possession of illegal substance, use of illegal substance, attempted assault, attempted rape, animal cruelty, and the list goes on.
Michael Vick and Pacman Jones are only the latest to get caught and charged.
Well guess what. The NFL is full of violent men.
Between the end of the 2006 and start of the 2007 seasons, no fewer than 25 players on 17 of the NFL’s 32 teams were arrested for offences such as unlawful use of a weapon and domestic assault. Indeed, nine Cincinnati Bengals players were arrested in nine months. Even two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders got in on the act, sparking a brawl after being caught having sex in some bar toilets.
If the fact that the National Football League is full of violent men surprises you, you’re not paying attention.
It’s been going on since, uh, forever. Here are the statistics from ten years ago.
In “Pros and Cons: The Criminals Who Play in the NFL,” authors Jeff Benedict and Don Yaeger estimate that of the 1996/97 NFL players, 21 percent competed with criminal records, up to and including allegations of rape and assault.
Boomers can remember when the NFL was full of head-hunters that reveled when they injured a player. Iron Mike Ditka, Ray Nitcshke, Bronco Nugurski earned their reputations (and hall of fame berths) by playing violently. That’s the way they were coached. Biting, kicking, spitting, as well as hard tackles were as much a part of the game as beer. Spearing (tackling with helmet to cause injury) was allowed. Protecting the quarterback? Fuggetabutit. The quarterback was there to be injured.
If a player was slow to get up, the crowd roared it’s approval. If a player was carried off the field, there was a sense of achievement among the opposing players.
The book about the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers was called “Mudbaths and Bloodbaths.” That’s only one rivalry.
The NFL says their crime rate is lower than general society. So? Isn’t that like saying the crime rate in prisons is lower than general society? As Pat Sajak said, “that’s like comparing apples and lugnuts.”
If I were clever, I could spin this into a funny post about how the NFL players are the victims. But I just don’t have it in me.