Thursday, June 26, 2008

PR Issues

Everyday I like to check to see what the top stories are in sports for the day. The first page I go to is the NFL homepage to see if the Jets or any other team has made any noise overnight. Normally there are a few interesting stories but of late the stories are starting to veer away from football and are taking on an alarming pattern. Of the 13 stories that are listed on the homepage as of this morning 6 of them are about legal troubles that players in the NFL are currently having. This ranges from Javon Walker’s recent incident in Las Vegas where he was mugged, beaten, and then left for dead to the recent alcohol problems of Titan D-Lineman Jevon Kearse and Panther Wideout Dwayne Jarrett.

While these events may seem trivial as isolated incidents when added together they make for terrible Public Relations for the NFL. Their players are out as sketchy clubs late at night with questionable characters and getting intoxicated and driving around. This isn’t just the NFL however as recently Carmelo Anthony got into some alcohol related trouble with the law. Still it does seem to be a prevalent theme in the NFL over the past couple of years.

This is something that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has tried to crack down on by handing out large suspensions to players who make the NFL look bad and break the law. On April 10, 2007 he suspends Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones for the entire season and suspended Bengals Wideout Chris Henry for 8 games. He followed that up by suspending Tank Johnson for the 10 on June 4, 2007. Goodell is clearly trying to show that the NFL will not tolerate its players behaving in that manner.

Good for Goodell who is at least trying to do something about the utterly despicable behavior of some of these players. You are a professional athlete and your in a strip club “making it rain” on some women on a weekday night? That’s the kind of behavior you would expect from someone on a TV series or in a music video not from one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Also the whole issue that athletes have with taking cabs or getting someone else to drive them home. You make millions of dollars a year and you can’t call a cab? Grow up.

Hopefully Goodell’s action will deter players from making such poor decisions in the future but judging by the summer the NFL is having it doesn’t look good.

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