The lockout has left players with plenty of time to themselves. And both the league and the union recognize that leaving the players to their own devices possibly has contributed to the placement of circular devices on their wrists.
Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com reports that both sides are concerned about the uptick in incidents since the launch of the lockout on March 11.
“It’s not all that complicated,” an unnamed NFC assistant coach told Freeman. “It’s the old idle time saying.”
An unnamed NFLPA* team representative apparently agrees. “I told them to work out and keep busy,” the rep said. “I told them if we’re truthful with ourselves, these arrests aren’t a coincidence.”
In the 58 days since the lockout started, 11 player arrests have occurred. That equates to an average of one arrest every 5.27 days. The good news is that things have slowed down lately, with only one incident since April 19.
The league has said that it plans to enforce the personal conduct policy during the lockout, a ridiculous (in our view) proposition given that the league should have no authority of any kind over the players during a lockout. Though the league’s goal may be to deter misbehavior, the ultimate deterrence is the possibility of being arrested and, you know, going to jail.
Freeman is right when he says that most players manage to stay out of trouble. But there’s still a percentage that has yet to figure out how to avoid off-field controversy — and the fact that the players have been frozen out of an offseason routine that would occupy much of their time surely isn’t helping.