Since the conclusion of this past Super Bowl, there have been 28 arrests involving NFL players. The most shocking arrest came today, when New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested. Shortly after his arrest, his was released by the Patriots. Following his arraignment, the world found out he was being charged with first degree murder as well as numerous gun charges. While this certainly is one of the most shocking arrests, it can not come as a surprise to followers of the NFL. For as long as people can remember, players have been getting arrested for a myriad of crimes, and the end does not appear to be insight.
The biggest problem facing players in the league, is that pretty much all of them do not come from rich families. That usually means that when they sign their rookie contracts, they become support for many members of their families. Also, they now have so much disposable income, they don't know what to do with. They end up spending money on cars, clothes, houses and jewelery. Of course, they think the next logical step is to buy guns, because you have to protect all these new belongings. Parents, guardians, or friends need to level with these kids. You are bigger than most humans, and usually roll with an entourage. Let them protect you or carry the guns. You have one job, to play a game for millions of dollars. It is sad that some people wont tell them they are messing up in fear of losing their meal ticket.
The next biggest problem with young NFL players are the people they allow to hang around them. Many players gain an entourage of family and friends, most of whom are there to reap the benefits of being close to an NFL player. While the player might feel some obligation to his friends and family, only he has worked his ass off to get to that level. They should not feel guilty about saying no to those closest to them. After all, the average NFL career is less than 5 years, meaning it may start off hot, but the money can quickly be gobbled up. No one is saying you cant give back, that is one of the benefits of being an NFL player. They just have to be smart about things and realize this money has to last the rest of their lives, they wont be making millions for the rest of their lives unless they get lucky.
The last problem they face is probably the most difficult to fix. The culture of athletes is general is a poor one and many athletes think they have to fit into that mold. They should be out at the club, popping bottles in the VIP. They should be dating models or actresses. Pretty much living the life of a celebrity. The problem is, they are not celebrities per say. They don't sing or act, they play a game. Unlike being an actor or singer, off the field problems can derail an athletes career.While you may be perceived as a dork or loser, staying in and watching television is a much safer activity. At the end of the day, its about the positions you put yourself in; a smart person knows how to avoid or at least recognize a potential problem. Stupid people either cant see trouble coming, or think they can deal with it. Sad to say, but the arrests will keep continuing as long as these factors are still rampant.