This NFL off-season has not been short of off the field drama. It usually isn’t, however this year the NFL has to deal with two of their up and coming stars in trouble with the law. Of course here we are talking about the Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington and New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. Washington was arrested and charged with injuring his ex-girlfriend. He already is under a four-game suspension to start the season. Hernandez had an arrest warrant issued on Friday for obstruction of justice in a murder case.
Right now, the NFL can’t do anything until the law has run its course with each player. However you know they will pounce on them once the law is done dealing out their punishments. You can count on that.
Washington was charged back in May for pushing his ex-girlfriend, causing her to fall and break her collarbone. He also allegedly choked her. As for Hernandez, he is in world of hurt from all accounts. Not only is he going to find the long arm of the law for covering up a murder, he also apparently was involved in a shooting earlier this year.
Is it fair that these athletes seem to be held to a higher standard than your average Joe? Yes. Although I don’t agree with anyone looking to an athlete as a role model, the fact is, people do, especially kids. They are thrust into the spotlight. Everything they do is done under the microscope of the general public. We count on these people to entertain us. We marvel at their athletic prowess. We envy the accolades they receive and the Escalades they drive.
So the bigger question is, what does the NFL do if these two players are found innocent of their charges, for whatever reason? I say nothing. If the law can’t punish them, why should the NFL. You could argue that they abused the code of conduct. However if they committed no crime, then how can you prove they ever breached any code of conduct?
I say all of that knowing the decks are stacked against these guys. There seems to be evidence both of them did commit some sort of crime. So, when the law is done, the NFL needs to act swiftly. I believe it will be awhile before either of these players sees an NFL playing field again. That should be the least of their problems though. They must pay for whatever wrong they did and not just from a law aspect. These players should know better. Sometimes though, people feel immune from that long arm of the law, that they are above it. No one is. Period.