WASHINGTON, April 15, 2013 - In February, 2013, over 300 NFL draft hopefuls converged on Indianapolis to perform for the biggest job interviews of their young lives. They ran, jumped, threw, lifted weights, and showed their tenacity and skill.
A couple of them may have also excelled in the age-old skill of acting like spoiled brats. Reports are out that a hotel room used by two players was trashed while they were there.
According to Dan Pompei’s report from the National Football Post,
“NFL teams still were trying to find out about an incident in which a hotel room at the combine was trashed, apparently by two players who were staying there. One of the players is a potential first round draft pick, and the incident could affect both players’ stock. Front office men hoped to speak with one of the players about it at his pro day but the player curiously made himself unavailable to talk.”
Maybe it does not seem like much. After all, Americans love our athletes and cut them a lot of slack. We often excuse the antics of the celebrithetes who are so much more talented that everyone else. And why not? They provide us hours of entertainment every year.
But that kind of attitude is wrong. No specifics of the hotel incident have been released, including who may have been involved and what, exactly, happened to make the room “trashed.” One report even suggests that no one can be sure the players who stayed in the room were responsible for its condition. Speculation as to the financial cost of the situation has begun to trickle out, however.
Millions of dollars are at stake at the NFL Combine. Players who, on average, only play professionally for three years have a lot at stake with their first contract. A lot of zeroes may be subtracted from the package if a player is deemed a problem…already.
There is another cost, though. Are team owners going to ignore a first-round draft pick behaving like he’s a rock star and are fans going to avert their eyes for the chance to call him theirs? If so, it comes at the price of integrity. Remember, team executives already know who the players are and what happened. They just don’t want anyone in the public to know. That way they can protect their decisions regarding those two players.
In a world where youth athletes learn many life lessons from their professional idols, it means very little that a player’s pay is docked for being a knucklehead. To kids, there is no measurable difference between a few million dollars and a few fewer million dollars and, thus, no disincentive to behave better in order to make up that difference.
So, perhaps the best thing to do is for the NFL to make an example of the players and not draft them at all. It is also the most cost-effective way of handling the situation, both financially and socially. That way we are all reminded that no one is excused from appropriate behavior just because they have great genes. And maybe a player who respects his incredible opportunity will have a chance to succeed instead.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.