“Do People Deserve Second Chances?”
It’s a question always being asked, and now so this week in places like Cincinnati and Oakland.
History in the NFL is filled with players who had lots of problems. Some were given 2nd chances and did well, others self-destructed.
The Rams drafted running back Lawrence Phillips, who had a career track record of violent outbursts, but was allowed to play at Nebraska. Cornhuskers coach Tom Osborn warred with the media who inquired why Phillips was on the team after a violent outburst with a woman he was dating, dragging her by the hair down a stairwell.
Osborn was furious when asked, ‘what if it had been your daughter, would you have let him return to the team?”
A social misfit, Phillips played, was drafted by the Rams, and washed out with more violent incidents off the field. He killed himself in prison last year.
Christian Peter, another Nebraska star, was drafted by the Patriots, but the owner ordered his release, because of a violent incident with a woman in college. He never played again.
Tight end Jeremy Stevens had alcohol and legal issues at Washington, but was drafted. Given lots of chances, he could never stay out of trouble, and was soon gone.
The list goes on and on, including a series of Cowboys draft picks, most recently drug craving pass rusher Randy Gregory.
In the NFL, Adrian Peterson was allowed to return, after an ugly child-beating incident. Carolina’s Greg Hardy, involved in a bad domestic abuse case, resurfaced in Dallas, but lasted one year.
Ray Rice never got his career back after the 1-punch video while with the Baltimore Ravens. Ex-49er-Raider Aldon Smith remains out of the league because he can’t stay out of trouble.
The league has been harsh with multiple time drug offenders like the Browns talented and troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon, and many more.
It leads us to where they are today, with Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon and Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley. The Bengals are taking enormous heat for the Mixon pick. Conley is professing innocence and the Raiders said they did all their due diligence.
The video of Mixon sucker punching his girlfriend, shattering 4-bones in her face, is hideous. It was worse that the Ray Rice video.
Conley issue is so called consensual sex, a ‘he said-she said’ case.
The NFL, which has taken stern measures against players who break the law, domestic abuse, DUI, drugs, guns, says it does not have the power to discipline players for what they did in college.
The Bengals believe they have to give Mixon his second chance, not out of Mike Brown’s benevolance, but rather the running back’s gifts. They did the same thing with troubled linebacker Vontaze Berfect.
Yes, the NFL cannot discipline them coming into the league, but you can believe, they will keep an open file, and if those players, or others with troubles, step out of line, once they step into the NFL, the sanctions will be severe.
Do they deserve second chances? I guess so. But Joe Mixon and people of his ilk better understand, second chance is a last chance, for them even if they are in the NFL.