NFL = National Fight League?

Doug Plank has been quoted as saying “Most football players are temperamental.  That’s 90 percent temper and 10 percent mental”.  This quote is almost prophetic, considering the incidents that have occurred off the football field this season.  First I’ll pick on Larry Johnson, running back of the Chiefs.  Johnson has been recently charged with simple assault.  In summary, this was caused because Johnson was rejected by a girl in some strip joint, and because he was not happy with this, he spit on the girl not once but several times.  This frustrates me greatly, because he was a starting RB on my fantasy team this year.  Now I have to bench him for who knows how long.  But seriously, what a dumb thing for him to do.  And then there is Pacman Jones.  Forget all the funny articles in The Onion about Jones and his antics.  He clearly has a problem keeping his head on straight.  He recently got into a fight with his own bodyguard in a Dallas hotel, and it was inflenced by alcohol.

What I am writing is really nothing new.  Thousands of other articles/posts have talked about Pacman Jones and Larry Johnson I’m sure.  But I beg to ask the question, should there be such thing as “personal accountability” for these athletes, and also “consequences”?  NFL Commish. Roger Goodell seems to believe in consequence, after he suspended Pacman Jones in 2007 for the entire season.  Larry Johnson is also looking at some personal suspension time as he plans to meet with Goodell on Tuesday.  I may be criticized for being judgemental to the players, but who cares?  I think I have a fair point.  These guys are already supposed to be role models.  When they continually lose their temper off the field, I believe there is no excuse.  If I was an anarchist, then maybe I would be encouraging Jones and Johnson to continue spitting and punching to their hearts desire.  What does it matter, right? 

I’ll end the article with a quote I found, which is anonymous.  “There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please.  And with it comes the only basic duty, the duty to take the consequences.”  I’d like to challenge athletes like Johnson and Jones to consider the consequences of their actions before rather than after committing them.

But if that happened, the NFL wouldn’t be exciting, right?  Ok, now I need to go, I’m watching Fight Club.

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5 Responses to “NFL = National Fight League?”

  1. Wellll…I’m of the same mind as John Donne that “no man is an island” and all that, but I have to ask you guys the age old question of why you’d want to set up some guy as a role model just because he can catch a flying pig skin? And as for their behavior, I guess I’m still baffled that you would be baffled that men who earn their living in an aggressive and semi-violent sport are not transformed into polite gentlemen when away from the field of play. Sporting institutions will have to decide what image they want and police their “members” accordingly, but were I the commissioner of football living in the current moral climate, I’d say you’re going to have to do better than the rant above. I’d want a cogent argument as to why I should police player’s behavior off the field; and as someone who reads your blog from time to time and believes you have it in you, I’d like to challenge you to do just that.

  2. twonateshow Says:

    jen, thanks for your comments, you pose very valid questions. I believe it is fair to say that its alot more than catching a flying pigskin to be a role model. Let me put it in perspective – In all due respect to garbage men, janitors, and housekeeping staffers, society (for the most part) does not look up to them as role models. Society publicizes and scrutinizes the lives of rich, talented, and at the top individuals, labeling them as role models. Whether or not you or I can agree with this is another story, but lets call a spade a spade here. Lets get down to the nitty gritty: players behavior off the field should never be separate from their “on the field” success. Often times athletes try to “compartmentalize” their lives – often times compartmentalizing will only make a man an island, which is exactly what you said you didn’t believe in, right?

  3. Thanks for responding, although you didn’t reply as I had hoped. I understand what you wrote in your comment above regarding the public’s propensity for placing a higher value on celebrities; however, in your original article you wrote that they were “already supposed to be role models”. Your choice of the word “supposed” made me think that you agreed that they should be (otherwise the statement is simply loaded with assumptions), and I was surprised you believe that since I’ve never heard an intelligent argument in favor of it. And I said nothing about the concept of compartmentalizing, which is an illusion anyway. What I wrote was that I’d like to hear a clear, strong, persuasive argument for why an employer’s arm should stretch beyond the “office” into the lives of its employees when they’re off the clock if said individual works for a sports franchise in the “current moral climate”; and one that is, in essence, a violent sport. I was asking for an argument as to why a sports commissioner should give a hang if athletes were setting bad examples. (Remember, these athletes don’t work for Christian organizations, so no doctrines or testimonies will be called into question if their behavior is less than charitable towards others.) If I’m rude to the girl at the grocery store, then I don’t just affect her negatively, but also everyone with whom she interacts in the foul mood I’ve put her in – it’s a ripple effect. Celebrities of every stripe have the capacity to reach more people with their words, ideas, and actions far more than we do, and I understand this. But I don’t understand the criticism within the broader context. It’s like criticizing sinners for sinning who could care less that they’re sinners; unless, of course, you could give them a good reason for caring.

    I was just hoping you’d offer a more comprehenisve article defending your ideas, and I don’t disagree with you (unless you believe they SHOULD be role models rather than the lamentable fact that they already are for so many). I guess it’s just bad timing. I was looking for a meaty conversation of sorts and instead got a passing comment over a cup of coffee.

    My apologies. Blog on.

  4. twonateshow Says:

    I will tell you why the commissioner gives a hang about the lives of the athletes – MONEY! The more well behaved his players can be, the better chance the NFL will make tons of money on their “on field” success. That is not to say that I agree with that motive, but it is definitely there. My main purpose in writing this post was to stir up a reaction from the reader, and I guess it worked! You’re right – the athletes don’t work for Christian organizations, but the NFL has a set a very clear line the last year and a half on personal ethics within the league, and I simply was making a challenge for them to uphold that standard. I think a perfectly good incentive for players like Pacman Jones and Larry Johnson would be that if they dont get their butts into gear, they could lose everything. But the other Nate is much better at not rambling like I do, so I apologize for any confusion you had from reading the post. And this reply box seems to cut me off when I’m halfway through making my point – how can you get the text to continue? Thanks for your comments.

  5. Ah..my ignorance of the NFL shows (but surely you could have informed us of the NFLs current policies in your original post? and no, I’m not calling you Shirley). Then by all means challenge the commish to enforce his currrent policies.

    Thanks for the kind response. As for the length of my writing, maybe my computer knows how verbose I am and just pities me. Cheers.

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