The League

Charles Mann
Pro Bowl Defensive Lineman

Charles Mann

A 12-year veteran lineman, elected four times to the Pro Bowl.

Education, Not a Curfew

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Nothing good ever happens after midnight. But the question of how the NFL should deal with gun violence, misses a key point: The athletes are not doing the shooting, they're the ones getting shot.

This isn't a football problem, it's an American problem. 20 years ago people may have gotten a baseball bat and they would have fought. The intention was to do harm, not to kill. But in 2008 people want to do permanent harm. They're killing to show their manhood. No one thinks about the consequences

It's a social problem, brought about by too much money and a lack of education. But a curfew is not the solution. Instead the NFL and NCAA should require a class for all potential future pros. A curriculum starting freshman or sophomore year could teach them what to expect before they get all that money.

Instead they get a two day seminar after signing multi-million dollar contracts. A 21-year-old kid from a lower or middle-class background who suddenly finds himself in charge of $5 million doesn't have a clue how to handle it. And with all that sudden power, why would he listen? You have to get to the kids before that, when they're still hungry.

Education is the solution, not a curfew.

By Charles Mann  |  September 3, 2008; 10:26 AM ET  | Category:  College Football , Crime , Emil Steiner Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: The Problem Isn't Just the NFL's | Next: Risky Business

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Charles,

I agree to a point. I also believe that one of the 800 lb gorillas in the room is the associations that a lot of athletes maintain after they "get paid". Unfortunately, associations that may have helped the athlete to make it through his upbringing may result in negative consequences when the athlete moves to a professional lifestyle. The NFL doesn't have a problem per se, because as you said, it's not really the athletes shooting people.

I'm sure a lot of people will post about this issue through the usual racial lens. I would just remind those individuals that elevated crime rates are more likely to be found in high poverty, lower class areas. And typically, every country has one or two particular classes or ethnicities that make up that class. Having said that, most people with money understand that if you make yourself a target, someone's gonna shoot at a target (metaphorically speaking).

Posted by: PW | September 3, 2008 11:09 AM

I agree; education is the answer. How many multi-millionaires go out late at night without protection? Money is not a shield, it is an attraction for the criminal element whether it is to steal what you have or jealousy because they don't have it and want to rob you of yours.

Posted by: Ron | September 3, 2008 11:29 AM

Charles: I agree wholeheartedly with what you say. One big problem is that you are talking about young guys who are really, really big and who make their living in a violent sport. They tend to believe they are Superman. (They have probably been physically superior to their contemporaries since elementary school.) Combine that with big money and you will inevitably find a situation like Richard Collier's--out at 2:45 in the morning, waiting on some women he had just met in a club. You are right--nothing good happens after midnight. Although when I ran that old saying by Mike Wilbon in his chat yesterday, he said, "What? You want everybody to be in bed before midnight?" In the case of the NFL, I think it would be a good idea.

Posted by: Jack | September 3, 2008 11:50 AM

Not sure about your statement "a class for potential future pros." How do you decide who's who early in college?

The 2-day seminar probably only covers this in a short module but at least it is presented to them. It's up to the player, his parents,and in this day and age, his agent, to heed the good advice. Young men with newfound money are always going to be targets for scams, hangers-on, and robberies, so they best learn the precautions that come with the territory.

In short, I disagree with having a third party impose curfews on all because of the actions of a few. Education is best.

Posted by: redrocket | September 3, 2008 12:25 PM


Mr. Mann,

I fully agree with your statement that this is a cultural problem.

However, until we come to terms with on-field skirmishes between players and fans that is witnessed every day, and in many instances handled outside of the courts where they would be treated as assaults, I welcome the scrutiny that is occuring in sports.

Our culture has become too callous with words and actions towards its' citizens, but the sports world has become even more callous.

Posted by: Hello | September 3, 2008 1:16 PM

I think that if a player is putting himself at risk by going out to these clubs and after hours joint while they are employed to perform a job with the NFL for the season knowing that they will be targeted "just because", then yes a curfew needs to be implemeted while they are being employeed with the NFL making millions to only end up shot, stabbed, in some kind of trouble or in court. If you are sidelined by an off duty injury (being shot,stabbed,beat up) then why am I paying you for a job you can not do that is not NFL related. THINK PEOPLE.

Posted by: GG | September 3, 2008 1:21 PM

These athletes have no fewer rights than anyone else and if they want to go to a club, they should be able to enjoy that as much as anyone else.
The clubs perhaps should be doing more to check for weapons in and around the club.


Posted by: Alan Browne | September 3, 2008 1:33 PM

I agree with everything you wrote, but my gosh, you left out the most obvious response to the gun problem. Get rid of guns. I know, gun control is evil, wrong and un-American.... Then again, it's rational, sensible and obvious.

Posted by: alan | September 3, 2008 2:28 PM

These are adults hired at absurd salaries to play a game. If they act stupid when they are away from the field then they should be FIRED. A few firings and lost millions because of stupidity will do more to change the behavior of these immature millionaires then any curfew.

Posted by: Jimbo | September 3, 2008 3:27 PM

It is no doubt a cultural thing. When was the last time that you heard of a white quarterback pulling out a gun or being shot at a nightclub? When you come from the projects or from a background when your friends, or even you, were carrying guns in high school then why are we surprised that NFL players are either shot or arrested with guns?

Posted by: Jay | September 3, 2008 4:33 PM

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