Why would you foolishly waste it all, Hernandez?
Armstrong Williams | 8/8/2013, 9:55 a.m. | Updated on 8/8/2013, 9:55 a.m.
Athletes carry a large weight among the youth and society in general. We look to them not just for their athletic prowess, but their personality; we feel a need to identify with them and know them. A lot of times, we can identify with their story and draw parallels. Sports are an escape from work and the pressures of life, and we invest in athletes to make our day better.
My solution: more oversight into these athletes’ personal lives in the offseason and more punishments for teams targeted directly at their ability to be successful. Thorough background checks and mandatory behavior-oriented counseling for any player with a felony, misdemeanor or major crime on their record should be required. The NFL and other professional sports leagues need to start forcing players to get involved in their communities and do charity work. Yes, they can practice 12 hours a day in the offseason, but once a week for an hour, maybe they have to give a talk at a school, go to a homeless shelter or become involved with a charity. Many athletes already do this, but from now on, a contract shouldn’t just be between the player and team—the community should benefit too.
There should be a social contract with specific obligations and goals for community service laid out. We need these athletes to know they are going to be present in their community, because it will help them see the impact they have and the potential for being the role models they are. I am not saying it will be a permanent fix and that nothing like this will ever happen again, but it will help reinforce their positive image among the community and themselves, and it would help them cope with potential demons and yes men they might still have.