The League

Charles Mann
Pro Bowl Defensive Lineman

Charles Mann

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

They're Doing The Time


I don't think the criminal justice system treats NFL players any differently. We got a guy, Michael Vick, who's just getting out of prison now for dog fighting. There's another guy in New York, Plaxico Burress, who got arrested for carrying a gun illegally - he's going to do some time.

It's unfortunate when guys fool around and get criminal records. If you come out of the NFL and have a rap sheet it's a lot harder to get a job. Hopefully players earn enough money during their career to avoid that, but most don't.

So to answer the question I don't think they're treated differently at all. If they were, folks wouldn't be going to jail. The system works. But how the media covers NFL players and their crimes is a different question.

By Charles Mann  |  June 8, 2009; 8:56 AM ET  | Category:  Crime , Michael Vick , Plaxico Burress Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Are NFL Players Treated Differently by Our Legal System? | Next: A Doomed Court


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"I don't think the criminal justice system treats NFL players any differently." says Charles Mann. He should add: "than any other rich celebrity who can affort the best lawyers." Drugs, guns, and thug culture are not the role model the NFL, NBA and other glamour organizations should tolerate.

Posted by: gjhinnova | June 9, 2009 6:00 AM

Are you living in a bubble? Of course professional athletes are treated differently. They've been pampered all their lives. You need to get outside your gated community.

Posted by: Jungman7 | June 9, 2009 8:13 AM

Clearly Chuck took one too many blows to the head during his 12 year career.

Players are doing time now because in the past they got a pass. People, and fans, are tired of seeing players do the crime but not the time.

Ain't that right Ray Lewis?

Posted by: krankyman | June 9, 2009 8:50 AM

You have been living in a dream world. These players are getting off easy. Many of them are just thugs playing football.

Posted by: natalstonjr | June 9, 2009 10:30 AM

Oh Kranky, Ray Lewis actually was arrested. And went to trial.

The only reason he was able to plead out of his charges was because the "witnesses" against him couldn't get their stories straight. The prosecution had to lay down since the case revolved around the eye witness accounts that had discredited themselves. There was no remaining evidence to try him on.

I understand that you, without substantial evidence, may feel that he is guilty - but he had his day in court, went through the legal process, paid his NFL fines and has worked his reputation back through continued community outreach.

That's not a pass.

And none of these superstars get passes. they are frequently punished more harshly to "set an example". Not to mention they are viciously subjected to the judge and jury of the dinner table. They pay their price- in cash, reputation and freedom.

What more is required of them?

Posted by: trident420 | June 9, 2009 10:37 AM

"Hopefully players earn enough money during their career to avoid that, but most don't."

Charles, you need to do some arithmetic. If the average NFL salary is approximatly $1.4 million and the average NFL career is about 3 years, then an average player should accumulate about $4 million over his career. If I had made $4 million over the past 3 years and suddenly found myself needing a career change, I could probably live on what I had already earned for the rest of my life.

Then again, there's no reason to think most (but obviously not all) NFL alumns are capable of making sound financial decisions during their playing careers. They are mostly idiots who spend their present earnings on wine, women and song with no worry about what will happen after they're washed up. But, as I once heard in a funny movie, "the world needs ditch diggers, too".

Posted by: rehillcj | June 9, 2009 12:19 PM

The word "Thug" is code for Black Male.

I notice you folks spew that word so easily. You know you are wrong to suggest such but it's the overall theme you're trying to promote. Let's look down on Black athletes since our sons can't beat them out for jobs on the field. Let's tear down their image.

Athletes go through so much just because there is this "feeding frenzy"..."blood lust" to see these guys lose it. Their money, careers and most importantly the admiration we normally have in our macho society for superstar athletes. Nowadays folks see an athlete and say I wonder is he a "thug". I blame the media for that.

btw, most of the comments here reveal hidden racism. But, you will never admit to it. I feel obligated to speak out against what folks have been program to say. You can thank the sports editors. They read your comments and know what you want to read. We only have 3 Black sports editors in the USA. Three out of 300 plus. This is they way they sell papers. This is what AMerica wants to hear. Believe me if you folks weren't so happy to hear this stuff they wouldn't report it. This results in higher scrutiny, tougher treatment and the excuse is....You make money.

Posted by: kentonsmith | June 9, 2009 12:30 PM

I believe that athletes are treated the same in court rooms but have better lawyers than the rest of us can afford. I feel though athletes are treated differently by the media than the rest of us so this causes us to view them differently on how the courts treat them. An athlete's image is built up by the media and also torn down, this affects our perception of them and how we view them getting better court outcomes than the average joe. Kentonsmith your right America has been keeping you down so is there another place in the world that would treat you better with more respect to your culture and race along with having respect for other cultures and races in more harmony than the US? No your not going to find it, America is the most accepting country by far. We are by far the most diverse and accepting country in the world. Do you interject racism whenever anyone has a different opionion than you? If you feel disenfranchised please go to the blog that has the title for it, not here which is a sports blog.

Posted by: JEllswo3111 | June 9, 2009 3:45 PM


I love my country. But, to tell someone love it or leave it is just plain un-American IMHO. I want better images for MY young people and I think to stand by and allow sports editors, which I think qualifies my comments as topic appropriate, to purposely trash the image of young Black athletes would be pathetic on my part. The goal of dialog and discussions are to bring about change. America never grew or changed with people just settling for any old practices. This horrible media treatment of Black athletes may have something to do with the fact that we only have three Black editors at major newspapers in the entire country. That's shameful and on topic. If you don't think discussing the complexities regarding Black athletes treatment with legal matters, the make up of sports editors and the common usage of the sports blog-o-sphere code words don't qualify me for this blog I think you're wrong.

Just because I'm saying things you don't want to hear doesn't mean it's off topic or inappropriate for this blog.

Heck on this WoPo site they have a page that's outright disgraceful!! Shameful and unnecessary. It serves no purpose other than to embarrass and humiliate.

Why is this necessary? Who's boat does stuff like this float?

Oh I belong here. Sports and race are connected in this country. I think running away from the subject or topic is a cowardly thing to do. If you love America like you say you do you would be sensitive to the concerns of ALL of it's parents. Things that may sooth one child can bring on a stigma to another. I don't want my kids thinking athleticism is an attribute of the socially deviant.

Posted by: kentonsmith | June 9, 2009 4:55 PM

NFL crimewatch? ??? What kind of mess is that? They(sports editors) have a site like that because they know Americans enjoy reading it. Right? it's as simple as that. Why is this good reading? Reading about NFL and NBA players blowing their careers is exciting to some people I guess.

God Bless that I love and probably been here longer than most of you folks.

Posted by: kentonsmith | June 9, 2009 5:02 PM

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