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Daily Buzz: NFL's tarnished brass
As Aaron Hernandez sits in a Massachusetts prison cell following his arrest for the alleged murder of Odin Lloyd, there’s a growing sense among fans, journalists and even some teams that NFL franchises should be holding their players to a higher standard off the field.
The thinking seems to be that if teams would stop prioritizing talent over character when forming their rosters, then players with checkered pasts — both violent and otherwise — would be sifted out of the league, and the NFL’s image problem would no longer be the black eye that it is.
It becomes difficult to try to set a standard for what is and isn’t acceptable among players, however, when the folks doing the cracking down aren’t living up to their own expectations.
According to this helpful database from the San Diego Union-Tribune, there have been 40 instances of NFL player arrests since the start of 2013, but the guys in helmets aren’t the only ones finding trouble.
In addition to Heckert and Russell, former Chiefs assistant Adam Zimmer was arrested for DUI in December but then hired by the Bengals in February. Then there are other cases of front-office improprieties, including Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s IRS and FBI investigations, former Chargers team physician David Chao's trouble in San Diego and Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand’s DUI arrest in 2010, among others.
Sure, the Lions penalized Lewand, to the tune of a one-month suspension and $100,000 fine, and Heckert and Russell will reportedly meet a similar fate, with team president Joe Ellis telling the Denver Post that, "(his) expectation is the discipline will be severe."
But having to deal with issues involving drinking and driving at all is a bad look for a league still reeling from Josh Brent’s intoxicated manslaughter charge from last season, and it gives the league little credibility should it ramp up its efforts to blackball other players who find trouble away from the workplace.
Now, does a middle-aged suit getting a DUI carry the same weight as a multi-millionaire football star allegedly committing murder (Hernandez), assaulting a woman at a club (Pacman Jones), passing out in a car full of guns and drugs (Michael Goodson), or all of the things that Titus Young is alleged to have done? Of course not.
But there’s still a hypocrisy that can’t be ignored, and if the NFL truly wants to make a statement to current and future players about what the league stands for and what the league will accept from its employees, executives across the board need to make sure they’re acting in a way that is in line with their own message.
Now, for some links:
• A bar manager allegedly assaulted by Aaron Hernandez in 2007 asked to have the charges dropped. Was he paid off by the university?
• The bat boy from George Brett's infamous pinetar game tells his side of the story.
• Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond shaved between innings Tuesday night:
• Kanye West fell asleep at "The Decision".
• Even before the Lakers met with Dwight Howard, Steve Nash didn't like their chances of keeping him in LA.
• Dirk Nowitzki has jokes:
We worked all summer to get DH to Dallas. Welcome back to the Mavs, Devin Harris....— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) July 9, 2013
• A new trend for future hoops stars: repeating grades to get an edge.
• The NBA compiled the best bench reactions of the 2012-13 season:
• A sweet read from a father to a baseball-playing son.
• You're in luck, Miami-area tattoo parlors: Chris Andersen will be back with the Heat next season.
• King James the rapper?:
• Dick Radatz's son is building a summer baseball empire.
• Kid blasts five home runs in one game in Cooperstown.
• Robert Gill and Chad Johnson have nothing on Bandit:
• Call him Mr. July — Reggie Jackson had a big quarter at NBA Summer League on Tuesday:
• Deaf wrestler fights for respect.
• The details of Anna Benson's alleged armed intrusion on her ex-husband's home are somewhat terrifying.
• Roddy White comes to Collin Kaepernick’s defense, sort of:
Kap getting a lot of flack for that hat and I got like 4 Mitchell and ness throwback hoodies of different teams that I wear does that count— Roddy White (@roddywhiteTV) July 9, 2013
• NCAA won't penalize Ole Miss for using an ineligible player last season? OK, then.
• TV commits to Kentucky, giving Wildcats plenty of exposure.
• Jose Canseco would like to join the party next week in New York:
i could beat anyone in @MLB homerun derby next week. art of power hitting.— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) July 9, 2013
• Here are the 30 most expensive college football tickets this season.
• Controversial Matt Cooke will wear the late Derek Boogaard's No. 24 for the Minnesota Wild.
• John Cusack congratulates old friend Chris Chelios on his Hall of Fame selection, but spells Chelios’ name incorrectly:
Congrats to one of oldest friends Chris Chellios for 1st ballot entry to NHL hall of fame-less quit in that man then anyone whoever played— John Cusack (@johncusack) July 10, 2013