The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Addressing the Problem, Not the Solution

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Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who grew up in Michael Vick's hometown of Newport News, Virginia, said something very interesting in a recent interview with Deion Sanders. "There were gangs when I grew up there, but when you played ball, you played ball," Tomlin remembered, referring to his hometown. "It was different. They respected what you did. Now, where I came from, gangsters play ball." Sports used to be a way to escape those dark places. Now, in certain cases, the darkness follows and eclipses the light of potential and success. Assuming that Roger Goodell's increased discipline changes the way players act is like saying that the rooster crowing changes the way the sun comes up. The math doesn't work.

There is more money, more entitlement, and more danger in sports now than there has ever been, and a lot of that danger happens off the field. Dealing with these issues after the fact really doesn't control the issue. Why did Plaxico Burress think he could get away with bringing a loaded gun into a New York nightclub when he undoubtedly knew of the state's super-tight gun laws? Why didn't Donte Stallworth get someone to drive him home? Why wasn't Michael Vick's background in dogfighting more publicly known? These are just some of the societal issues Goodell must address if he really hopes to make a difference in the lives of the players. As it stands now, he's just riding shotgun, speeding down a road lined with more and more violators and transgressors.

By Doug Farrar  |  August 21, 2009; 1:15 PM ET  | Category:  Crime , Donte Stallworth , Doug Farrar , Michael Vick , NFL , New York Giants , Plaxico Burress , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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