“Playing in the NFL….Right or Privilege”
Games are being played. Opening day is coming up.
We pay attention to the daily NFL news cycle, workouts, holdouts, roster moves, injuries, who’s happy, who’s sad, who’s mad.
And then there is the NFLdrug issues. Suspensions, positive tests, requests for reinstatement.
Pick a year, and we can pick a name of players in trouble.
Colin Kaeperneck’s social protest, using the American Flag as a prop demanding better respect for minorities.
Ray Rice’s 1-punch knockout of his fiancee, that knocked out his career.
Greg Hardy’s gun and punch rage of his girlfriend that led to a year long suspension, and the end of his career.
Adrian Peterson’s suspension for beating his son, sitting out nearly a year.
The banishment of top running back Kareem Hunt for the violent hotel incident, his release by the Chiefs, and now the 8-game suspension he will serve.
The off season ban of Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill while the probe continued of possible child abuse against his son, and the verbal tirades against his longtime girlfriend.
The finish of the promising career of ex-49er-Raider pass rusher Alden Smith after a potpourri of violations, from alcohol, to domestic abuse, to unlawfulness.
And this months series of 4-8-and-10 game suspensions for positive PED tests.
It never ends does it? And neither does what is happening now.
Sinners want to be reinstated and forgiven to get back into the NFL.
1-name in neon lights, troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon.
The other name out there Randy Gregory.
Poster boys for troublesome players, who cannot stay out of trouble, stay off drugs, stay clean, or stay in the NFL. Except both are in the midst of applying for reinstatement.
Gordon, a former 2nd round draft pick of the Browns, has been unbelievably productive when he’s played, But that’s the issue, he’s hardly played at all, since falling out of grace in Cleveland, and then stumbling again in New England. He dragged all this bagged with him from his suspension at Oklahoma State.
People have gone to extreme levels to help Gordon, some of it because of a unique talent level, averaging 17-yards a catch in his stormy career. Others have stepped front and center to aid him, because he is popular player, who came from a really bad background.
Gregory has been a Dallas Cowboy forever, and forever in trouble with drugs, dating all the way back to his days of suspensions at Nebraska. Jerry Jones has gone on and on about the player and the person he is trying to become, coming from a really bad background too.
Gordon has missed 53-games in 7-years, played 52-games in Cleveland or New England. He’s been suspended for 2-full seasons, and missed parts of 3-others. He’s been disciplined a total of 5-times by Roger Goodall. Some for positive drug tests, others for not showing up for drug tests, and sometimes for just not following thru on counseling programs set up for him.
Gregory has been suspended 4-times in 4-years. He’s had 6-violations in the NFL and two prior to that at Nebraska. He’s played in only 28-games, missed 36-games with suspensions, and been in and out of drug rehab centers almost non stop.
Cleveland got tired of Gordon. Tom Brady and Bill Belicheck have stepped forward with the Patriots to become Gordon’s advocate and guardian.
Jones in Dallas has become a father figure and guide in the long struggle in Cowboys country.
Sometimes you wonder if leadership like this becomes an ‘enabler’ to the players, because the can run a 4.3-while catching TD passes,or chasing down quarterbacks for sacks.
There always seems to be a ‘next team’ out there willing to take on problem players, under the banner of helping them, when the reality is those troubled players can help their new clubs.
It then begs the question, isn’t the truth that people like Josh Gordon or Randy Gregory can’t be helped, because they can’t help themselves. Maybe these players don’t have the fortitude to stay out of trouble. Don’t have the intelligence to cut ties with their past posse. Cannot beat the urge to get high. Can’t rationalize right from wrong, or their responsibility. Their mental capacity prevents them from going back time and time again to past discretions.
So now we wait to see if Gordon-Gregory get reinstated again, and again, and again.
Maybe the NFL has to understand, some people’s addictions are so strong, they cannot be saved.
Maybe the only time they’ll be out of the NFL is when their body is found in an alley, in a wrecked car, or in a hotel room, deceased.
Talk is cheap for Josh Gordon-Randy Gregory. People try to say the right things on their behalf. They can never follow the right path though.
The NFL needs to tell us about playing on Sunday,earning the big paycheck, being in the spotlight.
Should playing in the NFL..be a ‘right’ or a ‘privilege’.?