Ten years ago, Aaron Hernandez hadn’t murdered anyone. His draft stock had taken a hit. Every team in the NFL knew he was a thug. Scouts called him a “problem.” Teams passed on him, until New England picked him in the 4th round. The Patriots were able to get a couple of serviceable years out of Hernández before he and his fellow criminals murdered a man. Around the same time, Jon Gruden was emailing Washington Redskins executives, making disparaging comments about the size of a man’s lips. Gruden, now, is anathema. Although Gruden resigned, he was affectively terminated, given the choice of hemlock or the alternative.
The 10-year-old “lips” email made Randy Moss weep on air. The NFL has an active campaign of “racial justice.” Tune in Sunday and you’ll see “End Racism” stenciled at the back of every end zone. In a league composed of 70 percent Black players and most of them millionaires, racial justice is at the top of the NFL’s list of problems to solve. Down the NFL’s list is the apparent yearly cycle of players being arrested. In a group of men making millions, a fairly high number are arrested every year. Yes, the NFL has a problem.
Justin Reid plays for the Houston Texans; he apparently “knew” the Gruden was a problem. Reid claimed that “we knew that there was stuff going around the league like that happening with [Gruden] so it is what it is.” Odd that Reid “knew of Gruden” when Raider players didn’t. Raider players told reporters, after the first email was released, that they didn’t get that vibe about their coach. Reid is a teammate of DeShaun Watson. Watson has been accused of sexual assault by over 20 women so far. DeShaun Watson is still employed. No one asked Reid his thoughts on Watson’s character.
Since the beginning of the year, USA Today has tracked 20 current or released NFL players charged with or accused of crimes – from murder to domestic violence, to concealing a machine gun in the car, to DUI.
Likely, the worst team for ignoring character flaws is the Kansas City Chiefs.
Tyreek Hill was dismissed from Oklahoma State’s team. He later pled guilty to a domestic violence charge. Nonetheless, he was drafted by the Chiefs. While playing for the Chiefs, Hill was accused of breaking his son’s arm. An audio recording surfaced of Hill speaking with his girlfriend. She tells Hill that his son is afraid of him. In response, Hill said: “You should be afraid of me too.” The NFL didn’t have enough evidence to suspend Hill. He still plays for the Chiefs.
Yes, the NFL has a problem. And it’s not 10-year-old emails.