Guys like Lawrence Taylor and Corey Dillon are starting to give the NFL a bad name. It almost seems as if every time you open the paper you are going to end up reading about some other football player testing the legal limits of decency for our society.
With all the hard-working young athletes out there it would seem that owners in the NFL could do better than combing the prison yard for talent, but it seems that more and more teams are finding it easy to sign convicts of all sorts to their once proud franchises. Yes, these are men who have served their debt to society and should be allowed to pursue making a living once again wherever they possibly can. But do they deserve to be making millions of dollars playing football in front of millions of people every week?
The following list is a select group of players that have spent some time incarcerated for a serious crime:
Ray Lewis: was charged with murder after getting into a fight in Atlanta following the conclusion of a Super Bowl party (XXXIV). The charges were eventually dropped down to simply obstruction of justice when he agreed to testify against his friends and co-defendants. Charges against them were dropped due to lack of evidence. Lewis would go on to be the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV.
Leonard Little: was arrested for killing a woman after crashing into her car while driving drunk (.19). He would eventually be charged and convicted of manslaughter. The NFL saw no need to punish him then. Little would be busted for driving intoxicated again in 2004. After failing numerous sobriety tests he admitted to drinking, but was somehow found not guilty of the charges.
Donte’ Stallworth: on March 14th Stallworth hit and killed a pedestrian with his car. He was later discovered to be legally drunk (.12) and admitted to drinking the night of the accident. Stallworth would get convicted of manslaughter and jailed for 30 days along with a number of other things. The NFL suspended him for the 2009 season. He was signed by a team shortly after getting out of jail.
Michael Vick: want needs to be said about this piece of work? The guy was a tremendous athlete getting paid too much and thought he was untouchable. In his BET documentary he and his family seemed more down that he got caught, rather than realizing that what he did was wrong. The Eagles apparently did not care either and made the convict a rich man shortly after his release. After posting terrible stats during the 2009 season, he had the audacity to say he deserved to start in the NFL.
Plaxico Burress: it is strange that the man who was not responsible for killing anyone, but was dumb enough to shoot himself was sentenced to a longer stay in the correctional system. Maybe that’s what he gets for being dumb enough to shoot himself.
Ben Roethlisberger: technically this guy is not a criminal, but for all intents and purposes he might as well be. Sexual assault is one of the most under-reported crimes in the country. Guys like him who engage in such behavior do not do so as isolated incidents. Eventually his pattern of behavior will catch up with him and he will get his chance to see how he looks in orange.
Pacman Jones: this guy’s list of offenses is just too long to read. After some serious time off from the NFL, the Bengals have opted to bring him back. I thought the Bengals were trying to clean up their image?