Note to NFL players: Time your self-destructive behavior better

You almost have to feel sorry for Ausar Walcott.

The rookie linebacker for the Cleveland Browns got into an
altercation with a man outside of a club this week and is now charged with
attempted murder.

Most weeks, the media would be abuzz discussing Walcott and
what’s wrong with sports today. His name would be a household word among sports
fans. He’d be the punchline for a joke on Jay Leno. The undrafted free agent
would be known to all as “the guy who probably murdered someone.”

However, to paraphrase Lloyd Bridges in “Airplane!” Walcott
picked a hell of a week to try to kill someone.

The New England Patriots all-everything tight end Aaron
Hernandez is stealing the majority of Walcott’s thunder, as he has been charged
with first-degree murder
in the shooting death of his friend. According to
police, Hernandez and semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd were engaged in an
ongoing argument while out at a club late one night. Lloyd was found a few
miles from Hernandez’s home with several bullet holes in him.

The Patriots, like the Browns, parted ways quickly with the

To help fans who are having trouble figuring out which NFL
player is under arrest at any particular time, the San Diego Union-Tribune has
created a database.
This web-based set up allows fans to search by name, team
or position. This system will allow you to figure out if it’s the wide
receivers or offensive linemen who are in more trouble this week.

To date, the report is that 28 players have landed on this
list since the close of the Super Bowl. This does not account for repeat
offenders, l ike former Titan wide out Titus Young, who was arrested three times
within a week.

The list is littered with a variety of charges, but the
“greatest hits” are literally greatest hits, with weed, booze and assault
topping out the reasons why NFL stands for Now Flouting the Law.

In most cases, you
could write the police report like it was a Mad-Libs game:

(Player) was arrested on suspicion of using (substance)
after police pulled them over for (traffic offense). (Player) said he was
coming from (Club name) where he was (hip term for wasting money on an
entourage) and decided to leave with (woman’s pseudonym based on an alcohol
type). Police searched the car and found (illegal item) which (Player) said
belonged to (hanger on’s name), who was not available for questioning.
(Player’s team) released a statement saying (bullshit PR terms) and deferred
all other questions to (Player’s lawyer’s name).

I didn’t grow up in the best of neighborhoods, but I
certainly didn’t grow up in the worst, either, so maybe I’m missing something
here. However, each time I see this this kind of stuff hitting the news, I
think, “How goddamned hard is it to stay out of jail?”

Hernandez was said to be having a “beef” with Lloyd over
something he said at a club. Fine. That leads to a screaming match, not a
scenario involving an NFL player, two dudes, a couple guns and a late-night
pickup/ride to a deserted part of town.

Walcott was having a similar problem with his co-combatant
at the nightclub, which led to the blows that blew Walcott off the Browns’

Chad Johnson could still catch 80 passes in a season.
Instead, he’s making a pass at his own lawyer, a quick ass-pat in court that
landed him in jail for several days until he apologized to the judge in his
case. The reason he was in court? He violated a condition of probation set up
when he had an altercation with his now ex-wife.

The list of bad choices and bad behavior seems to be as
endless as it is dumb.

The NFL is a multi-billion-dollar industry and it’s pretty
clear that it wants to stay that way. For the most part, players get a fairly
decent slice of that money, with multi-million-dollar salaries. Even
scrubeenies make more in a year than my father did in the last decade he worked
at the factory. Maybe I’m looking at this wrong, but if I were in that boat,
I’d thank God every day and do whatever it took to hang onto that gig.

Dad always said that some people don’t know how good they’ve
got it. I often think about this when I bitch about a job where I’m not told
what to wear to work, I can teach how I want, I stand in front of a room for a
half a day and get paid almost double what our secretary makes (and she works
her ass off). Believe you me, I’m doing my best to not screw that up.

People can claim all they want that culture or manhood or
whatever bullshit bravado required these players to “game up” or “keep it real”
and not forget where they came from. Hernandez lost out on about $40 million
because, police say, he couldn’t take being “dissed” by a guy who couldn’t make
it on the pro level. That’s a pretty high price to prove you’ve got a cock and
not a wee-wee.

Then again, he’s getting a lot of press these days, which
means a book deal from jail, an interview with Oprah and probably a tryout with
the Raiders when he’s released in 2042.

That’s a lot more than Ausar Walcott has coming.

6 thoughts on “Note to NFL players: Time your self-destructive behavior better

  1. Well, a lot of the problem is you get these young guys–early 20’s, mostly, and a lot of them were plucked from not-great circumstances/family life to be groomed as college and then pro players. Once they hit the college circuit, they are groomed and petted and revered and, yes, bailed out of trouble, to the extent that they lose all perspective. Then they move to the NFL, get WAY more money than they or anyone they know has ever seen and they have the prestige of being a pro football player. Of COURSE they don’t think of the circumstances of anything they do. Why would they?

  2. And in the meantime:
    Senate Republican leaders have sent letters warning six professional sports leagues not to provide the Obama administration any assistance in promoting Obamacare.
    Too bad Gene Upshaw is dead. He’d tell Mitch exactly where to shove it.

  3. This is just an extension of college football, where the players are pampered, allowed to commit rapes and batteries and not attend classes FFS and the university and local police just dutifully cover it all up for them. These bozos don’t seem to get that they’re not within that safety net any more (and that murder is harder to keep under wraps than a few rapes and fights where you can just pay people off).

  4. Hooray! A crotchety middle-aged white guy complaining about how spoiled pro athletes are! No one’s ever explored this angle before!

  5. In general baseball does not see the same level of idiocy as football or basketball does with their younger players. Part of it is only the very top players see good money in the minors, but the actual number of players making good money is probably roughly the same in all 3 leagues. I have to think there is something else that the NFL and NBA could use.

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