Aaron Hernandez is innocent until proven guilty, but the evidence against him and the charges laid are not encouraging for those still holding onto hope that the 23-year-old tight end was somehow just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And while about 97 percent of NFL players remain upstanding citizens, the small minority of trouble-finders spoiled our ability to idolize any of them.
I grew up idolizing professional athletes. If or when I have kids, I won't encourage them to follow suit. Too dangerous. I don't want the next generation taking leads from these guys.
And yes, Bleacher Report's Aaron Nagler has a point...
If the NFL has a "player crime problem" it also has a "players giving back to the community in ways that don't generate headlines" problem.— Aaron Nagler (@Aaron_Nagler) June 27, 2013
I don't think this is becoming an epidemic. In fact, it doesn't appear to be getting any worse on a year-by-year basis. But the sad reality is that people aren't as interested in good deeds within the community as they are in crime and mischief. That's the kind of drama that viewers and readers demand, which is why it gets the most coverage.
Regardless, that's what our kids see and hear and read.
Here are headlines from three consecutive stories posted at Pro Football Talk on Thursday...
In all three incidents involving NFL players, someone either died or could have died.
The NFL is entertaining as hell. Football is my life. But the men who play it have had their image tarnished by a few bad apples. Unfortunately, that's all it takes.