Father knows best
NFL players and rebellious teens have much common
Posted: Tuesday June 26, 2007 12:47PM; Updated: Tuesday August 7, 2007 2:20PM
Last week's hidebound tract about the NFL's ongoing crime wave drew the following e-pistle from reader Dave Snow of Phoenix, Ariz, who happens to be the owner of the Arizona Snowmen fantasy football team:
I suggest changing the scoring categories in our Fantasy League to more accurately reflect the current state of the game. Scoring will be determined by searching entries in online Police blotters every Monday morning during the season. Points to be awarded based on the following charges...er... criteria:
"Bear Hug": Assault by means that likely produces great bodily injury - 1 point
Yes, these are all real charges against NFL players in the last year. The hell with LT, I'm drafting Pacman.
Commissioner Goodell spoke to the NFL's incoming kiddie class this week in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. as part of the league's annual rookie seminar, and while he addressed the vital importance of being great men as well as great players, I feel pretty darn sure that his lofty rhetoric and well-meaning speech went in more than a few ears (provided they weren't blocked by iPod buds) and out the other side.
How do I know? I'm the parent of two recalcitrant, rebellious teens. NFL players aren't all that different. They want what they want when they want it, with little or no thought about the consequences of their actions. Tomorrow's grounding, suspension, or stretch in the pokey is a total abstract when the object or activity of one's desire is at hand. Raised in a privileged world of fawning fans, coaches, recruiters and agents, the rules bent or broken for them at every turn, elite athletes are inclined to feel pretty darned invincible once they succeed in beating the long odds of reaching the NFL, especially when they end up with lots of free time and a bottomless pocket full of long green. So who the hell is Officer Kupcake or Roger Goodell to tell them what to do?
All the pontificating and stringent rules in this or any other world won't stop teens or immature pro athletes from running afoul of parents, commissioners or cops. Short of implementing the Codes of Islamic Law, the best you can do is take away something they love, as the Bears did this week with Tank Johnson, and hope the true meaning of "Knowledge is knowing that fire can burn, wisdom is remembering the blister" eventually penetrates the concrete of their skulls However, Johnson will probably get another chance with another team, which won't help potential miscreants think twice before they start shooting up your friendly local strip joint, but it will keep Mr. Snow's Fantasy League humming.