The Players Of The NFL Need A Personal Conduct Policy For Their Own Good
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how the NFL is creating a new personal conduct policy for its players. This new policy would include recently created penalties about domestic violence and child abuse but also stiffen the penalties for other offenses and create new standards for investigations and arbitration concerning violations of the policy. I stated that the NFL Players Association would fight it and they are after filing a grievance against the league last month.
Within the last few weeks we have seen how much the Personal Conduct Policy is needed in the National Football League. Immediately following the Super Bowl, we had three separate incidents of players either being arrested or being cited for one crime or another. While one charge may be dropped (Joseph Randle’s was arrested for possession of marijuana but a gun charge is still pending), it is blatantly obvious that these players are not getting the message and someone needs to be the adult in the league and take care of the children.
Now we have a new/old case this week. Greg Hardy, the former Carolina Panthers defensive tackle, was charged with domestic abuse stemming from an incident last summer. While he was convicted of assaulting and threatening to kill the victim, a settlement was reached between the two parties and since that agreement the prosecution has not be able to locate the victim. In simple terms, it appears that Hardy may have paid off his victim in order for her to disappear and not respond to requests from the district attorney in North Carolina to speak to her. There is no definite proof of such a scenario but the events surrounding the case have many thinking that is how it happened.
A case such as Hardy’s is what is wrong with some of the players in the NFL. They believe they are above the law and when the law comes around, they also believe they that can throw money at the problem and call it a day. That is why the Personal Conduct Policy is something that they do not want in place in its new form. Many players, not all, do not want any kind of policing on their lives and careers. They want the Wild West, where they can do what they want with no oversight and no consequences.
The fact is that there needs to be some kind of “sheriff” to keep law and order in the league. As I stated in my previous article, the players have proven that they can not take care of themselves and stay on the straight and narrow. While most players in the league are upstanding citizens and are gentlemen on the field and off, there are just a few that seem to want to ruin it for everyone else.
Do you think the players want so much drug testing? No, they want to be trusted and have the league believe they are clean of recreational drugs. Thanks to Josh Gordon and his multiple failed tests, the NFL is forced to drug test pretty much year round to keep tabs on their players. Thanks to many other players who use Adderall without a note from a doctor or notice to the league, the NFL must pump up their PED testing to make sure their players are doing things naturally and not taking a competitive advantage over their colleagues.
Maybe I am in the minority but I believe that Roger Goodell instituting a conduct policy was a good thing. For years the players ran the league and got away with everything under past commissioners. Lawrence Taylor was always known to be under the influence of drugs before and possibly during games and yes he was eventually suspended, but it took years before something was done to give him a consequence and possible help for his problem. It’s about the NFL and the honor of playing in the NFL. It is a privilege, not a right to play not just in the NFL but in any professional league. The players have to be reminded of this and unfortunately, the only way for players to get the message is to take away their money and prove a point. The commissioner has done that and there seems to be some who are taking the league seriously.
While many in the NFL are getting the message, others still seem to be trying to dare the NFL to penalize them for their actions. Once they are penalized, they begin to whine and complain saying that the league and Goodell are overstepping their boundaries. The NFLPA comes in later and begins screaming about due process. At the end of the day, those players are poking the bear and taking their careers and public opinion into doubt with every negative action they take. If you are a grown adult man and can’t make the right choices for yourself, you don’t deserve to play professional sports.
This will be the last time I will write about the NFL’s personal conduct policy and for good reason. I believe you guys are sick of hearing about it from every media outlet all the time. The other reason that I will not write about this anymore is because I hope that the players will finally realize that they are in a no-win situation and will begin to rethink their actions in regards to their behavior off the field. Here’s hoping the young players coming into the league look at the examples of Adam Jones or Tank Johnson and think twice about how they choose to behave. It will only benefit them and the NFL in the long run.
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