CANTON, Ohio- How football, in general, can help curb the domestic violence and drug problem. Starting with college football.
Just recently, Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott was suspended by the NFL for six games to start the 2017 season. It took the NFL a full year of investigating to come to the decision that Elliott should be punished.
Elliott found himself in a domestic violence situation with, now ex-girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson a year ago back in Columbus, Ohio.
Though the Columbus prosecutors decided not to pursue the case further, the NFL then did its own investigating and said that there was enough evidence of physical contact between the two, that they decided to punish the Cowboy and former Ohio State running back on their own terms.
For the record, this isn’t the first time Elliott has put himself in a bad situation. Whether he actually did anything to his ex-girlfriend is not my point. My point here, is that he’s put himself in a negative spotlight multiple times, going back to his days as a Buckeye.
This is what needs done.
Make a rule and make it perfectly clear, in the college ranks, you’re only allowed one mess up, if you do it again, you WILL NOT be allowed to play in the NFL. The NFL needs to create a zero-tolerance program.
Here are some examples.
Joe Mixon, the rookie RB for the Bengals. Punched a woman, knocked her out and broke several bones in her face. http://www.cnn.com/videos/sports/2016/12/17/joe-mixon-video-oklahoma-newday.cnn . There’s the link in case you haven’t seen it yet. At that point in time, he has lost the right and privilege to play in the NFL and should have been kicked out of school for behavior like that. Again, this is where that zero-tolerance policy comes into play. I don’t care what you can do on a football field, you are expected to conduct yourself in a positive manner on AND off the field. That goes for any sport.
Little kids and teenagers are looking at that situation right now and thinking, “Well, if Mixon can do that and still make it to the NFL and make a ton of money, I don’t see why I can’t”. It sets a very bad example for the younger generation of athletics coming up. Yet, I turn on NFL network to catch highlights of the Tampa Bay vs Bengals game and look who is getting two highlights? None other than Joe Mixon. Why? Because he plays in the NFL.
Video surfaced of Elliott exposing a woman’s breast at a parade. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1428811/Ezekiel-Elliott-exposes-woman-s-breast-St-Patrick-s-Day-crowd.html . There’s that video. Elliott was also spotted at a marijuana dispensary in Seattle. Again, multiple situations that he put himself in, not anyone else. He made the choice to be in these situations.
Some of you may be thinking I’m out to bring down these players. Not even close. The fact of the matter is this, they made a choice and put themselves in a bad situation. Mixon could have and should have just walked away or simple wrapped the woman up until the cops or the manager of the bar took control of that situation. Elliott, whether he hit his ex-girlfriend or not, should have not put himself in a situation like he did. Some fans continue to give these players passes from a fan standpoint, why? You as a person should understand that if you did even one of these things, would probably lose your job if you did any of these things. Why should these players be treated any differently?
Ray Rice should have been kicked out of the NFL after he was seen hitting his, now wife. Gone, no excuses, you’re out. No second chances. You want to go start a foundation that tries to prevent violence against women? Great, good for you. You’re still not allowed back in the NFL. By the way, Rice got a whole two game suspension out of that situation. Stop now before you actually get serious about your consequences NFL.
Ray Lewis. What a joke of a situation that was. I still believe he was involved in the murders of two men outside a night club in Atlanta in 2000. Yet, nothing……again.
And then there’s Josh Gordon. What a screw up he’s been. Chance after chance after chance. If I’m Goodell, that’s not even an option. It never should have been. You’re banned for life from the NFL. You can’t stay off drugs, then you can’t play, it’s that simple. The rules are the rules. And Gordon’s issues go all the way back to his early college days. So, it’s not like it just started happening once he made it to the NFL. Gordon decided weed is more important to him then making millions playing a kid’s game. That’s fine, smoke all the weed your heart desires. You can kiss the millions good-bye though. The NFL has a right to make rules that uphold the integrity of the game and that’s their right. If they didn’t have a problem with the use of weed, then they need to make a rule specially about that.
I’m so tired of all these fans trying to come to the rescue or defense, whatever you want to call it, of these players, when it’s the players doing this themselves.
When you become a high-profile name, it doesn’t matter if you actually committed the crime or not. Were you there? Was your name brought up? That’s all that matters. And, that’s all it takes.
Wouldn’t it be smarter for an athlete to be studying game film, practicing or doing community work?
Lebron James has never put himself in a negative light like other athletes. His worst action was deciding to change teams. But, he had the right to do so. James does commercials, movies, works out or is spending time with his family when he’s not on the court. Lebron acknowledged the fact that he did smoke weed in high school, but hasn’t done it ever since. Peyton Manning, the same thing. The list of athletes that keep a low-key life, but do good things off the playing field goes on. So, there is no excuse for these other athletes.
The argument I’m tired of hearing? Well they’re young. So that means they have the right to hit a woman or put themselves in a potential bad situation that could make them look bad? I understand everyone messes up in life, myself included. But, these players cannot continue to go on being unaccountable for their actions. It’s not like they don’t know if it was the right or wrong thing to do.
It’s all because they have been blessed with God given athletic abilities and are given a “Get out of jail free card”.
At some point, the universities have to step up around the country and take actions themselves. Am I being a little too harsh when it comes to a zero-tolerance at the college level for some of these actions? Maybe. There are some people out there that do something wrong once and learn from the mistake and don’t do it again. Others? Not so much. I’m fine if they are only allowed one more chance at the college level to mess up once and be allowed to redeem themselves. But that’s it. Remember, the youth of the country is already looking up at college athletes and are watching how they act both on and off the playing fields.
These incidents won’t stop until both, the universities and the NFL puts its firm foot down.
At the end of the day, you’re expected, especially at the college and pro ranks to conduct yourself as a mature adult and carry yourself in a respectable manner. You’re not 15 anymore. You, not only are representing yourself and your family, but the college that you are attending as well. And if you’re fortunate enough to make it to the pro ranks, you’re then representing your employer and the team that drafted you now as well.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Nick broulis