By Damon Amendolara
If you’ve spent the offseason trying to figure out why so many NFL players are behaving badly, look no further than their bosses. We are appalled Ray Rice struck his fiancee with an intent to injure and left her unconscious (that’s the description from the police report). We are bewildered Orlando Scandrick could pop Molly while on a vacation in Mexico, leaving him afoul of the league’s drug policy and out four games. We are disgusted Aldon Smith could nab two DUIs, face a weapons charge AND make a bomb threat in an airport.
We should be. This is an unflattering look for the country’s most powerful and popular league. The league that sells us pickup trucks, light beer, and waves the stars n’ stripes has a whole bunch of players looking like Ugly Americans, and acting the fool on an all-too-regular basis. But maybe it’s because the example being set above them is not much better.
Colts owner Jim Irsay was arrested and charged with DWI, and four counts of possession of a controlled substance. Police found several bottles of prescription pills in the car, and a lot of cash. A lot. Like $30,000 worth in his wallet, briefcase and a laundry bag. You don’t need to have seen an episode of NCIS: Indianapolis to know that smells rotten. Two weeks before his arrest, Irsay’s alleged girlfriend died of a drug overdose in a townhouse he purchased her. People around the league admitted he’s had a drug abuse problem for the better part of a decade. Guess they just wanted to let it breathe.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admitted it was him in a series of racy photographs with scantily-clad women that surfaced recently. He said the pics were a misrepresentation, but didn’t deny it was him. Bob Sturm covers the Cowboys for The Ticket in Dallas, and said on CBS Sports Radio: “He’s really just kind of living that Hef dream, that Hugh Hefner life that you never have to get old sort of thing. He’s kind of been living that for as long as a lot of us can remember. He just did a pretty good job of keeping it out of the public’s eye. I wish I could say we were all shocked, but honestly, we were actually kind of shocked it took that long for someone to (expose that).”
Jones is married. These women were clearly not his wife, which I’m sure his son Stephen could attest to, as long as he wasn’t busy partying with the NFL’s VP of Officiating on his luxury team bus. It was so encouraging to see Dean Blandino stepping off the Motorcoach of Merriment, the one with a huge Cowboys star emblazoned on the side, looking like a frat bro on Spring Break jumping to cut the line at a club on the Sunset Strip. And there was Stephen, right behind him, with a handful of young women by his side. Apple doesn’t fall far from the oil derrick. I don’t seem to remember respected head of officials Jerry Markbreit doing beer funnels on Al Davis’ helicopter, but hey, boys will be boys.
We wonder why these athletes are making such poor decisions. Why are they living a lifestyle of excess, drug use, womanizing, impaired driving, and all-night carousing? How could they not realize how they’re representing franchises, cities, and fan bases?
Maybe it’s because they’re watching the guys that sign their checks do the same thing. They’re watching those supposed “respected members of the community” act like its Spring Fling in Tijuana. You’ve got too many people in the league living as though the rules don’t apply. Burning the candle at both ends. Flooring the gas, merging into the fast lane, and only apologizing when they get caught.
We always hear how the NFL goes to such great lengths to “protect the shield.” Protect the shield, huh? The NFL owners should consider themselves lucky the shield hasn’t been impounded yet.
D.A. hosts overnights across the ever expanding universe of CBS Sports Radio Network. He has hosted The D.A. Show (aka “The Mothership”) in Boston, Miami, Kansas City and Ft. Myers, FL. You can often catch him on the NFL Network’s series “Top 10″ opining on Zubaz pants, Tecmo Bowl and Andre Reed’s HOF credentials. D.A. graduated from Syracuse University in ’01, and immediately started looking for ways to make a sports radio show more like a quirky 1970’s sci-fi television series. Follow D.A. on Twitter and become one with the Facebook page experience. D.A. lives in NYC, and is a native of Warwick, NY – a sleepy town existing somewhere between the suburbs and the sticks.