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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Who Gets to Play in the Sandbox?

The NFL does business with all these folks:

  1. Ricky Williams. He’s either a four- or a five-time loser in the NFL banned substances program. I’m a little foggy on the details.
  2. Michael Vick. Which, yeah…
  3. Ray Lewis. While some people might talk about his “tarnished image”, Lewis’ plea deal for obstruction of justice after first being charged with murder didn’t stop him from continuing his career. Payoffs to avoid lawsuits from the families of the murdered men did little to put the shine back on in my eyes, but in the NFL, tarnished = giant paycheck.
  4. Sebastian Janikowski. Who...well, just read it. His history includes the date rape drug, too much drinking, violent confrontations, and a mildly hilarious acquittal for attempting to bribe a police officer.
  5. Pacman Jones. His violent, stupid crimes didn’t lead to his exit from the league; it was marginal play. Jones bugs me more than most because his criminal record paints him as the worst kind of arrogant, useless thug. That’s not the bad part, though: the bad part is that he was allowed to be this guy from college on to the pros because he was talented enough of a player that people kept giving him a pass. Until one year where he wasn’t good enough and the free ride was over. I wonder if he ever really understood the deal he was making or how quickly it would end?
  6. Tom Cable. The Raiders head coach allegedly (and, very believably) viciously attacked one of his own assistant coaches and broke the man’s jaw. Admittedly, the NFL may well kick this guy from the league if and when he is convicted of felony assault; but with the evidence already in place, the severity of the attack, and the NFL’s recent focus on good behavior, I still can’t believe that he hasn’t been suspended pending the outcome of the legal issues and any internal investigation that needs to take place. Hell, it might be to the benefit of the team to be without Cable.

But this one was bullied out of even the possibility:
  1. Rush Limbaugh. Who is a loudmouth conservative with a drug conviction. Which, let’s be honest, one drug conviction seems pedestrian in the world of football. You need to have a few run-ins with the pee police before the NFL considers taking any real action.

That’s only a taste, of course, and I’ve excluded those players who were convicted of things like drunk driving that, honestly, certainly are crimes but don’t deserve the kind of coverage that our media manages to milk out of those wayward players. I only include Ricky Williams because I find his career so darned funny.

And I don’t feel any strong need to carry any water for Rush. I don’t listen to Limbaugh. I tried to read one of his book years ago and got bored with his amazing ability to pat his own back--which doesn’t make him evil, it just means he’s not to my taste. Somehow, I don’t think that this should disqualify him to be minority owner of a football franchise that could use a little help.

But what do I know? I’m just the guy who buys the NFL product week after week, doing my bit to help pay the bloated salaries of the players, coaches, and owners in the league.

Just sayin’.

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