Sunday, September 6, 2009

NFL: Another Star Player Arrested for Beating Up Female Companion

Real men don't hit girls.
Former Maryland Terp, San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Shawne Merriman was arrested for choking and restraining his girlfriend, reality TV personality, Tila Tequila as she attempted to leave his home in Poway, California, a San Diego suburb. Her statement indicated Merriman had choked her and thrown her to the ground.

A/P report from NFL.COM:

Okay, Merriman is due his day in court, mandatory disclaimer, but this adds to the tarnished reputation of a player who looked to be one of the rising defensive stars in the league. He was suspended four games in 2006 for testing positive for nandrolone, an anabolic steroid. Merriman’s claim was he must have ingested a tainted nutritional supplement.

The issue of pro athletes, all too often football players, being involved in abuse and battery episodes with their female companions, wives and girlfriends, is most disturbing. In an artificial world where the stars seem to have plentiful quantities of whatever they want creates a mindset where women become little more than a commodity, just another disposable plaything and given the number of groupies and hangers on who stake out the hotels where players stay and the clubs they attend, there’s no shortage of women willing to throw themselves at the feet of these modern gladiators.

These associations can, of course, be hazardous to players as well viewing the tragic death of Steve McNair, murdered by a crazed mistress; however, let’s not let that issue detract from the shameful, inexcusable behavior of athletes, physically powerful men beating women and all the breakdown in discipline and values that represents.

Brandon Marshall’s misbehavior became big news when he completely went nuts on his teammates refusing to engage in a recent team practice resulting in his suspension from the Denver Broncos. While he recently beat the rap on a girl beating charge, earlier episodes stand. In 2008, the Ravens suspended Fabian Washington for an incident. While O.J. Simpson and Ray Carruth are the most extreme examples, all these episodes reflect a mindset, a psychology of a predatory sadistic state-of-mind civilized society cannot tolerate or excuse.

Team front office personnel and coaching staffs are challenged to find the best players available to produce winners on the field, but CHARACTER DOES MATTER. We believe a team should never knowingly sign a player who engaged in behavior a father would have trouble explaining to his children should they question what they’ve seen in the media.

We applaud Commissioner Roger Goodell’s guidelines and strict penalties for inappropriate and illegal behavior by NFL players. Given in 2006, the Cincinnati Bengals had over a dozen players facing charges with other episodes popping up around the league, the ever public relations conscious league knew it faced a situation demanding strong action. Rather than waffling and making a lot of chest pounding statements, Goodell went right to work addressing each episode with a firm hand.

Still, as much as Goodell and the NFL brass attempt to deal with the situation after terrible things have happened, we are challenged to develop a culture where such wicked behavior would not be contemplated in the first place.

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