Perhaps the NFL Should Skip Summer Vacation
~ Amy Lignor
The NFL is one of those institutions that brings excitement and entertainment to people across the country. They provide those unforgettable games and seasons that the largest percentage of sports fans wait impatiently for each and every year. Football is the mainstay…it is the most popular kid in school, and even though America’s Game is still given to the baseball realm, football – it’s teams, it’s players, it’s rivalries – is the sport everyone talks about.
However, when it comes to summer vacation, it seems that football players and their organizations go a bit crazy. Perhaps it is playing in those cold months and freezing their brains out on the gridiron during November through January that makes them go a bit nuts when the temperatures rise. Or, perhaps it is the easy explanation of too much money and too much time on their hands. But no matter what the explanation is, unfortunately for fans and teams, some of these players who are very much needed by their organizations in order to have any possibility of bringing home a Super Bowl ring, end up screwing things up and coming face-to-face with the law. Some crimes are downright dumb, some are horrific, and most are drug or alcohol related that see the player scrambling for a good lawyer and a new suit in order to wear it in front of the cameras, cross their arms before them, and look down as if feeling completely ashamed and humbled, in order to keep both fans and their jobs.
Just in the past few days, when rockets were supposed to be giving off a red glare while bombs were bursting in air, NFL players decided to enjoy their summer vacations by being arrested. Among the news items was Josh Gordon – wide receiver with the Cleveland Browns – being arrested and charged with driving while impaired in Raleigh, North Carolina. Gordon is no stranger to this occurrence, having been arrested before and proving to the world that he most definitely needs some type of help or intervention to get and remain clean and sober before he does harm to himself or others. With a blood-alcohol level of .09, Gordon is once again looking at a mar on his record. Released on a $500 bond, it seems that the biggest news comes from the fact that a convicted felon was the one bailing him out.
Then we come to Indianapolis, where the mistakes seem to come from the top, down. The news came out that Colts wide receiver LaVon Brazill has been suspended without pay for at least a year from the NFL because he violated the substance-abuse policy. Talk about not learning a lesson, this is actually the second time this has occurred, with the first suspension coming in the 2013 season for the exact same violation. That time, LaVon was only banned for the first four games instead of the whole year.
However, Brazill is not the only one who should hang his head in shame when it comes to the Colts. During this offseason (summer vacation from heck), the actual owner of the team, Jim Irsay, was arrested and charged with two misdemeanors for driving under the influence of prescription drugs. And…we’re not done. Robert Mathis (outside linebacker for the Colts), and the leader in sacks last season has also been suspended by the league. Robert will miss the first four games of the 2014 season for – what else? – violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
Now we head to a warmer zone in the U.S, and find the same type of issue. Defensive end for the Miami Dolphins, Dion Jordan, received a suspension on Thursday for the first four games of the upcoming season for violating the league’s policy when it comes to performance-enhancing substances. The story was interesting, with Jordan saying that he had actually gained muscle (approximately 17 pounds of it), because of his lack of playing time last year. Apparently that wasn’t exactly right. The Dolphins are already facing issues including everything from a much-needed renovation to their stadium to training these guys to back up the Pro Bowlers who may need actual help on the field. You know…the job they were hired to do.
Let’s be honest here, summer romps and jaunts are for college kids who want to blow off steam: once you are drafted by the NFL you are no longer IN college. Everybody’s wondering how college ace ‘Johnny Football’ will do in the new season. What they should be wondering is why on earth grown men are sacrificing the one career they worked so hard for in order to act like a bad copy of Beavis and/or Butthead.
It is definitely time for the NFL leaders to entertain the idea of skipping summer vacation entirely!