Friday, July 5, 2013

The Cautionary Instruction: Athletes gone wild

Matthew T. Mangino
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/Ipso Facto
July 5, 2013

Former New England Patriot, and NFL Pro-Bowler, Aaron Hernandez is in jail, without bond, charged with murder. Apparently, he is now under investigation for a double homicide in 2012.  Hernandez like any other person accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

However, any presumption that the NFL doesn’t have a “thug” problem has long ago disappeared. Guns and ammunition seem to be as much a part of some NFL players’ belongings as a helmet and chin strap.

Indianapolis Colts safety Joe Lefeged was arrested this week on a gun charge. Lefeged spent a couple days in jail after refusing to pull over and being chased by police. Once the chase ended a handgun was found in the Chevy Camaro Lefeged was driving.

You’d think some guys would learn a lesson from former and current Steeler Plaxico Burress whose career derailed after he accidentally shot himself in a New York nightclub, leading to a gun charge that resulted in a 20-month prison sentence.

In Philadelphia news reports are revealing that the learning curve for some NFL players can be steep.
A pit bull and seven puppies belonging to Philadelphia Eagles running back Bryce Brown were among the animals seized in a suspected dog fighting operation in Wisconsin.  That is the same Eagle team where Michael Vick plays quarterback. Vick spent time in prison and had a great career tarnished by promoting dog fighting.

Oh, there is some good news for the NFL this week. Former Jacksonville Jaguar receiver Jimmy Smith was released from prison on house arrest. Smith was originally scheduled to be released in November 2018 after he was sentenced to four years on a charge of cocaine possession and, of course, two years on gun possession charge.

Let’s not just pick on NFL football players. Texas A & M’s star cornerback Deshazor Everett recently got arrested, along with a teammate. Two people reported being attacked by a group that included Everett. Police say the victims had visible injuries from the attack.

Don’t forget college hockey. Notre Dame’s Jared Beers was arrested on a felony assault charge. According to the police report, Beers punched a female bar manager in the face, and then while she was on the ground, he stepped on her throat and pulled her hair.

Oh yeah, it’s not just football players toting guns and college athletes beating on women. Boston Celtics basketball player Terrence Williams did both. He got arrested in May for domestic violence and menacing with a gun. He threatened his son’s mother with a gun prior to picking up the child.

Then there is former major league baseball player Milton Bradley. He was recently sentenced to three years in prison for abusing his wife five times between 2011 and 2012. Bradley was arrested in 2011 for swinging a bat at his wife, just after he was released by the Seattle Mariners.

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