The League

THE QUESTION

Are NFL Players Given Too Much Legal Leeway?

From Plaxico Burress to Donte Stallworth to Brandon Marshall, does the criminal justice system treat football players differently?

Posted by Emil Steiner on June 8, 2009 6:24 AM
FEATURED COMMENTS

curtb: How many of these big financial crooks that brought about our current economic crisis are actually being marched to jail? Richard Fuld, the...

thensell: Do pro players get a break? of course they do. Do they deserve a break? Yes, everyone deserves a break now and then. But equating a brea...

BEEPEE: KENTONSMITH- I would agree that "thug" in the context of these articles and comments does equal black male. But, it is a lifestyle many you...

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ALL COMMENTS (32)
caveman1957 Author Profile Page :

yes thay do give football players to many leagal lee ways and if you look at the college team fsu. they should have taken even more from them and prosicuted half of the team its just plain thug mentality and a ripp off to the fans and the youth that look at you to be a leader or role model i know this is not the oprah show but hey justice is for all..........

kentonsmith Author Profile Page :

Are you kidding me? Heck no athletes don't get breaks. It's a war out here against the Black athlete. It's centered around jealousy,dominance and current salaries. The salaries are still below what they should be believe it or not.

There is this climate and market for hearing bad things about athletes and it seems like not just the media but law enforcement feel obligated to all to make life hard on high paid athletes. The constant negative images by the sports editors is done because society wants to hear the WORST when it comes to today's high profile jocks. I personally think it's because they are Black. Since white kids are no longer the sports icons and idols they were in the 50's and 60's society does all it can to trash their image with the theme of crime and uncontrolled behavior all over the place. It's not true...but it sells papers and nowadays after an arrest the police call the newspapers. Something is wrong with that picture. Black athletes are racially profile and pulled over allllll the time. It's ridiculous!! Racist if you ask me. So, no...they don't get breaks at all. You folks love hearing negative stuff about these guys. It's makes your day. Hence, the title of this topic. Read between the lines people. New York's Bloomberg went on t.v. demanding Plaxico be punish to the full extent of the law. What kind of crap was that? Hateful!! Breaks?

SCKershaw Author Profile Page :

The job of football player is not of a public trust. If they do something to offend me I can just stop watching. They still have to make a living somehow, don't they? As for the "out to get me mentality", they need to just stop crying. They make a lot more money than I do, and I have been black a lot longer than any of them.

bs2004 Author Profile Page :

Football players rape, pillage, take drugs, and engage in thuggery.

They are not us.

The game needs an outright ban in the United States.

ozpunk Author Profile Page :

The NFL protects their own and I'm sure they have an army of mafia lawyers constantly strong arming plea deals. Some recent examples include: Travis Henry, Pacman Jones, Leon Hall just got one, hell even Michael Vick plead down. Oddly enough though Plax turned down a plea deal, but his involved 3 months jail time and he is "deathly afraid" of that. I guess one of the perks of being a role model is being able to make a public apology and do community service by reading to little kids or whatever. Also, I don't agree that there is a war on black athletes in the NFL, don't forget about Matt Jones with his cocaine possession and subsequent parole violation. Or Jeff Reed being arrested for punching a paper towel dispenser in a mini-mart restroom... (See also Plax plea deal) NFL players are certainly not above the law, but they are subject to a more lenient justice system because we the fans don't want to be disillusioned and are awfully quick to forgive all the DUIs, aggravated assaults, cs possessions, etc. just be sure as heck you don't kill some dogs; apparently that is unforgivable.

1ggghalll Author Profile Page :

The answer is yes, but that also applies to all of the well to do.

Bigrcube Author Profile Page :

RE: KENTONSMITH
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

W_O_W ?!

Just KEEP drinking the flavor-du-jour KOOLAID and see how FAR that will GET you in life?!?!

RE: The salaries are still below what they should be believe it or not.
(W_T_F ?!?!...........IF you SAY *that*, then provide DATA to support that claim!
Unless that is just YOUR own perception, eh?!)

Perhaps YOU and ALL those Black Athletes should take THIS *attitude* into court
the NEXT time you're there and tell it to the *Judge* with that kind of *tone*, eh?!

YEAH RIGHT......ALL the *arrests* are BOGUS and NOBODY did ANYTHING wrong, eh?!

NOBODY shot NOBODY with that ILLEGAL gun?!

NO *officer*, I was NOT driving @ 100mph and NO, I will NOT blow into the
Breath-a-lizer machine! And NO, that's NOT cocaine on the front seat.

Michael Vick NEVER did ANYTHING bad to ALL those dogs, right?!
WHAT dog fighting / gambling *Enterprise* your honor?!

The MEDIA / PRESS only report on the WORST stuff, because there is VERY LITTLE *positive* stuff to report! EXCEPT that is, when the ACCUSED athlete is TRYING to rebuild HIS image for PAST transgressions, and they VOLUNTEER their time with the KIDS, eh?! AFTER ALL, it is ALL about the KIDS, right?!

LegallyMurphy Author Profile Page :

It's garbage to think that athletes aren't treated differently. But in some ways I think they deserve it. I mean they have to sacrifice all their personal freedom to be celebrities. They cannot walk down a street without being mobbed by fans. They can't go out to a restaurant and have a normal date without the paparrazzis photographing them. They have to sacrifice a lot for our entertainment and since we treat them so differently why should the courts?

bestowens Author Profile Page :

Yes, our criminal justice system does treat the "Athlete" with favor. Because we absolutely love football in this country. But, unfortuantely, some athletes will always misbehave and break the law. We told them for years that they were "the best" at whatever sport they play. Some are not good at transferring from boyhood to manhood, so they wind up in the line-up.

Liam_L Author Profile Page :

I think there is something to be said about the spotlight in which Athletes are put in and the ensuing high level of lawsuits and other cases which can be brought there way. For example if I was to push someone in the street if they were pissing me off to get out of my way, I'm more than likely not gonna get hit with a million dollar lawsuit. You push one guy with a camera as an athlete and your done. As far as the major felonies are concerned, welcome to the lives of the rich and famous.It doesn't matter if you're in the NFL, NBA, or Hollywood; if you have money....your home free.

question-guy Author Profile Page :

Sure they get alot of breaks from the overseers, but so do the rich white dudes...so what's the point of this article?

telesonic Author Profile Page :

A more important question is: Why do we accept the fact that so many NFL players are criminals? Some of them start out as thugs; others seem to become thugs when they start getting the money and the adulation. And we look the other way. Why?

rascoej Author Profile Page :

Let's wait a minute and examine this topic...it's not that these guys are pro athletes, simply they are part of the privileged in the US. The US justice system is bias for the rich or rather those that can afford to pay the best lawyers that have a certain amount of influence. Look at the numbers...you have many players that do not get into trouble so don't be so ignorant to include every pro athlete for what you see set by a minority of players.

bill61 Author Profile Page :

Most of the special treatment comes from not even being accused, i.e. lenicency on speeding tickets, DUI's. However once accused, the tremendous amount of money these guys make kick in, in the form of the lawyers that they can hire. Notice that most of the atheletes accused of a crime, generally always ask for a continuance. More time that passes between a crime and trial the better for the accused--that's what the money buys you, time and really good lawyers.

Tempy_McJobhunt Author Profile Page :

How NFL players get treated has more to do with their reputation as players than the actual severity of their crimes. Mike Vick spent two years in a federal prison for dogfighting. Plaxico Burress shot himself in leg. But for whatever reason, both guys rubbed folks the wrong way, so no one's really sympathetic to them receiving ridiculous sentences. Donte Stallworth meanwhile, has no real profile, so no one seems all that interested in the fact that he actually killed a guy. The irony is Stallworth will get a lighter punishment than either Burress and Vick, despite having committed the more severe offense.

hypnos123 Author Profile Page :

The majority of players adhere to the rules of society and often make generous contributions to society in a variety of ways that are enhanced by their fame and fortune. I played a friendly game of skins on the golf course with Darrell Green a couple of years ago. He is the consummate example of the famed staying grounded. As a former law enforcement official in DC, I can tell you the days are gone when players during the heyday of Sonny Jergenson and Billy Kilmer could have to many beers, get stopped by the police and are allowed to continue on without arrest. But you never had them with their posses and illegally carrying guns. Burris created his own problem and now must live with the consequences of his actions. If "Joe Blow" had shot himself in a club with an illegal weapon, he would have gone to jail also.

shipfreakbo214 Author Profile Page :

You have a few idiots who make it bad for everyone, and yes it's basically the black athlete. This wasn't meant to be a racist comment but tell me I'm wrong.

Badwisky Author Profile Page :

I dont think that they are cut any slack on the "big" things i.e. felonies etc.

wtfbi Author Profile Page :

There is an interesting parallel here between the NFL stars and the lawyers who represent them when they're in trouble. The best players make enormous sums of money to create mismatches during games. In some sense, the lawyers who defend them are doing the same. The players can, and do, pay for their own legal Peyton Manning to put themselves in the best position to win. Do they win every time? No, but if they didn't have the pocketbooks to build their defenses, they would have records more in-line with the rest of us. How might they fair with a public defender?

CrzKat Author Profile Page :

This is really just a reflection of our society. The simple facts of the matter are that we have the highest incarceration rate in the world, yet like everywhere else money provides privileges that are unavailable to others. 98% of criminal convictions come from plea bargains and about the same number of criminal defendants rely on the services of Public Defenders. Those who can afford paid counsel are less likely to be convicted and usually end up with lighter sentences than those who rely on the public pretenders (who are paid by the same people as the prosecutors.)
NFL players are supported by their employers and financially capable of hiring the best legal counsel. Money buys privilege this is not an American phenomenon it's universal.

burg8533 Author Profile Page :

There is no war just because they are black. The black athlete makes more out of being black then us the white fan ever does. I watch my team play and pull for the player and do not care if he is black, white or yellow. I get upset only when they make a mistake and start playing the race card. The athlete in general has spent there life getting away with more then those of us who cannot win football games for out school. I know my brother did not have to go to class because he was a very good center. I was in R.O.T.C. and could not get away with skipping class. I am not 48 years old and am not as crazy over my team as I was in my younger days. I remember watching players play the game with more class than I see today. The money is more than the teacher gets to teach our children how to read and write. It is the owners team, the players do not need 60% of the money made. If they want most of the income then take the chance and start there own company or team.

kentonsmith Author Profile Page :

Questionguy

"Sure they get alot of breaks from the overseers, but so do the rich white dudes...so what's the point of this article?"
---

The purpose of articles like this is suggestive. It's done to make folks INSIST that athletes are treated harshly in courts because they make money and are from the hip hop gen. It's as simple as that. It's not Mickey Mantle or Brett Favre. It's Jamal Williams etc.etc.. Folks have this image of thuggery because that's all the newspapers report. Who wants to read about Allen Iverson saving somebody's life from a burning car? We would rather hear about he and relatives having a fight after drinking beer at the house. That makes the news, not his life saving heroic efforts[true story]. The idea is this folks. If we can't BEAT them out in camp...then BEAT them down image wise. Every single incident country wide shall be reported over and over again until the theme sticks. These guys are young Black hip hop generation guys who we shouldn't have to see rich. It's all just an excuse. It's primarily jealousy. Nobody talks about the good athletes unless they fit a certain "vanilla" image like Sean Battier or Darrell Green. Everybody isn't like that. I'm not nor are most regular folk. Today's athletes are actually followed by cops. Someone mentioned Matt Jones. Heck..it took the NFL forever to suspend Jones. Players actually complained about it before the commish finally did something. btw, did we see ESPN talking about Jones ad nausem? No! He ended up getting arrested AGAIN. You didn't see his picture up top did you? Notice how the two primarily sports are NFL and NBA? Hmmmmmmm....I'm not saying the ones that have stumble aren't wrong. But, sometimes it's overplayed in the media just because they are jocks. I mean...why do we have to read about somebody being stopped for running a stop sign and later see the paper refer to it as an off field incident? Heck...it's only a moving violation why are we acting like we have to be concerned or alarmed by it. You have to see the big picture. This is a societal perception rooted in ole fashioned racism. Whether guys are right or wrong it still doesn't excuse the obvious HATE and hidden agenda.

burg8533 Author Profile Page :

The athlete spends there life getting breaks. It starts in school where they get away with anything because they bring in the money for the school. 60% of the income of the team is more than the teachers get for teaching our children to read and write. The man running the line at the mill does not get 60% of the plants income. If the athlete wants that much then take the chance and start his own team or company. It is not a war against the black athlete. It is a war against the athlete who thinks he is better than those of us who cannot play ball. I pull for my team and do not care if the player is black, white or purple. I only care when the athlete gets in trouble then starts trying to make something out of his being black and that is the reason he is in trouble. He is the one who was speeding at 3oclock am after drinking all night. He should be stopped. He is the one slapping around women etc... Stop crying I am black leave me alone and start acting like a member of the society.

luca_20009 Author Profile Page :

Thugs are thugs...treat them as such. I have no sympathy for someone who's been handed a once in a lifetime chance, a chance many an athlete can only dream of. and squanders it because they are too stupid to discern right from wrong. Screw them.

obobo Author Profile Page :

First of all football is not a sport. It is entertainment; so let's treat them as entertainers. Second, it is about knocking people around, beating them into submission. So legalize steroids and let them pump up as huge as the incredible hulk and beat each other up; the fans would love it and the entertainers would melt in a few years.

kentonsmith Author Profile Page :

Burg,

I hate when folks compare athletes to working class folks. Compare athletes to Mick Jagger, etc. I don't know where you are getting the 60% number from but it's wrong. Athletes are who folks are coming to see. Not the owners. Without the talent there is no market. People want to see the best in the field.

btw, Thugs is code for Black Male.

Please cut it out.

deronimo Author Profile Page :

I think the majority of the perceived unequal treatment is more about wealth then celebrity. With wealth comes the ability to hire the best lawyers and PR folks. Millionaires often get off in this country.

Another point for consideration is the superstar athlete, movie star or what have you, has a platform that can be leveraged in terms of public service announcements and the like. A competent lawyer makes this point clear in court.

obamacan1 Author Profile Page :

I do remember that when "Hollywood" Henderson (of the Cowboys or Houston?) - retired star (receiver?) was caught with drugs and under-age prostitutes - the judge at the time gave him a very long sentence - because he was a "role-model" - I believe 10 years - which today would not happen today. My we've come a long way!

curtb Author Profile Page :

How many of these big financial crooks that brought about our current economic crisis are actually being marched to jail? Richard Fuld, the Lehman Brothers CEO just got a new job making many millions a year. How many politicians that looked the other way because they benefited from campaign contributions from these crooks are being called on it and stuck in a cell? Like, none? Face it, these people caused a national disaster and jobs are being lost everyday because of them. Lock THEM up!

curtb Author Profile Page :

How many of these big financial crooks that brought about our current economic crisis are actually being marched to jail? Richard Fuld, the Lehman Brothers CEO just got a new job making many millions a year. How many politicians that looked the other way because they benefited from campaign contributions from these crooks are being called on it and stuck in a cell? Like, none? Face it, these people caused a national disaster and jobs are being lost everyday because of them. Lock THEM up!

thensell Author Profile Page :

Do pro players get a break? of course they do. Do they deserve a break? Yes, everyone deserves a break now and then. But equating a break to forgiving the unforgivable is just stupid. What Mike Vick did was too bad to think about. His break was that he didn't get 15 years. Plaxico got a reduced sentence. They all get breaks. Packman Jones has worn out his welcome IMHO. This mentality of entitlement is silly.

These guys get paid to play a game. Don't give me that crap about short careers, pain and everything else. They all had a choice. They choose to play football and if they can't find a job after football, then they better learn how to flip burgers, or be a plumber because no one owes them a damn thing. They got paid to play, and when they can't play any more, they can work like the rest of us.

BEEPEE Author Profile Page :

KENTONSMITH-
I would agree that "thug" in the context of these articles and comments does equal black male.

But, it is a lifestyle many young black males aspire to, including some pro athletes. If the shoe fits..

I am really tired of hearing about the "poor athlete", black or white. A large percentage of these guys got a free ride through college. If they weren't bright enough to get an education when it was handed to them, let them flip burgers or work construction.


 
 
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