League, union need to find better ways to deter crime

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On June 24, we explained that coaches who finally had gotten a chance to relax after months of hard work wouldn’t be completely relaxed, given that players left to their own devices inevitably will be arrested in the down time between the end of the offseason and the launch of training camp.

Since then, more than a third of the league’s coaches have had to deal with a member of the roster getting arrested.  Specifically, 11 players have been arrested since June 24 — and with one weekend remaining until camps start to opening it’s more likely than not that the list will continue to grow.

The rash of arrests proves that the league’s current procedures for deterring bad behavior aren’t working.  Now that the NFLPA has a direct financial incentive for ensuring that the game continues to thrive, the union needs to be more willing than it ever has been to support efforts to discipline the handful of players who make all of them look bad.

The NFL has indicated that the union is resisting efforts to beef up the penalties for drunk driving.  But with the substance-abuse and steroids policies still not finalized in the wake of last year’s labor deal, given the ongoing HGH tug-o-war, an opportunity remains to increase the punishments, especially if the NFL would be willing to use a third party to review appeals of the sanctions imposed.

Regardless, something different needs to be done.

The good news is that, once players report to training camp, chances are that the crime spree will end.  Or at least it will get better.

It definitely can’t get much worse.

15 responses to “League, union need to find better ways to deter crime

  1. Mike, I agree with you and I’ve written two articles about this. I think this criminal behavior could be the greatest threat to the league.

    Unfortunatley I don’t think the NFLPA cares or is willing to work witht he NFL. All these NFLPA clowns do is try to butt heads with the NFL. They are a joke and a disgrace to the game.

  2. a couple of things.

    first, it’s nearly impossible to deter crime. A crime by definition is a breaking of rules…the penalty rarely has something to do with one’s decision to break the law. Usually, when a penalty does deter a crime it is only AFTER someone is subject to the penalty (your friend gets a DUI, doesn’t drive and drink anymore).

    We can all think of a personal (usually distorted recollection) example of when punishment has ‘deterred crime’, but those are not reliable nor are they the norm. Death penalty stats are a great example-the existence of the death penalty doesn’t deter murder bc the decision to murder is so extreme that it intrinsically causes one to ignore rules (a biological rule that you should not kill others).

    Second, the idea that punishment or one-shot policies can deter crime shows a very short-sighted an inaccurate view of crime, society, and culture. There are a myriad of things that contribute to a decision to commit crimes. Just think of a player’s decision to drive drunk, and you’ll quickly realize there are multiple factors at play such as: society’s belief that men should be self sufficient and not rely on others in times of weakness, a culture that values rugged individualism, our obsession and promotion of a lifestyle of alcohol and partying (something the NFL makes billions of dollars off of). These aren’t things that can just be over-ridden with rule changes etc.

    These simplistic views are convenient for us because they allow us to have definable points of blame and responsibility, and I am not denying that responsibility of the person is ALSO important…but it’s also undeniable (from any rational perspective) that these broader factors are quite important and should also be addressed.

  3. still floored that anyone thinks the decision to increase penalties will somehow curb drunk driving… hilarious bc all the other comments on these threads are about how these players are stupid bc they have the money for a cab etc…then you expect a player you admit is acting stupidly to somehow act rationally bc the penalty is more severe….that makes no sense.

  4. “…the union needs to be more willing than it ever has been to support efforts to discipline the handful of players who make all of them look bad.”

    C’mon, man. No union worth its salt is going to help an employer punish its workers for legal transgressions. That’s what we have laws and law enforcement for.

    I’d bet the NFLPA would be willing to look at more constructive deterrents in the educational vein, though, because they have a stake in making employees better, just as the NFL does. It’s just as much a headache for the union to defend these guys as is it for the NFL to punish them.

  5. Personally, I view the knucklehead players as a poison pill for the NFLPA. They didn’t draft them and didn’t have any choice about them joining their ranks. But once the NFL places the Janoris Jenkins of the world into the NFLPA, the union then has the difficult task of getting them to stay on board and be willing to miss paychecks during the next CBA negotiations. If the NFL didn’t want the Dez Bryants and Janoris Jenkins of the world in their league, they wouldn’t draft them. Ultimately, if the NFLPA wants to improve their strength as a union they need to do what most unions in the trades do and take control of their own membership and keep out players the will compromise their negotiating position.

  6. malgorthewarrior says:
    Jul 21, 2012 1:39 PM
    a couple of things.

    first, it’s nearly impossible to deter crime. A crime by definition is a breaking of rules…the penalty rarely has something to do with one’s decision to break the law.
    It’s not impossible at all. It’s certainly not impossible to discourage NFL arrests. The NFL simply needs to make the penalties unpalatable. The same should apply to contract holdouts…fine them enough, and it won’t happen. Let’s see what happens with a first offense DUI is a $50,000 fine and one game suspension, second offense $100,000 and 4 game suspension, third offense is $250,00 and an 8 game suspension, and the fourth offense is a permanent suspension. Tell me it will keep happening.

  7. @malgor,
    I agree with you that other factors are at play, however I think you are wrong on a couple points. First, it IS possible to deter crime. It may never be prevented but it is always capable of being deterred. That is the entire point of establishing known consequences/penalties. If you know that robbing a bank will get you nothing more than a $100 fine, there will likely be a lot more attempts. The consequences deter most people if they are harsh enough. The ones that won’t be deterred are the ones that, in this case, should be removed from the league. Eventually the rest of the league will see that it is not worth the consequences. If they don’t they can be replaced by someone who does and attrition takes care of much of the problem. Sure there are always knuckleheads but there are far too many in the league right now. Hammering the miscreants with harsh consequences combined with the union’s support of cleaning up the league and its image can go a long way.

  8. as long as players have a way out of getting punished by a third party then how will that curb anything? the union agreed to give goodell the power now they need to stop fighting him and accept the consequences. it may not deter but at least these idiots will know they will have to pay for what they do.

  9. Given the fact that the great majority of us can go dozens of years, without being arrested and, the fact that most employers would first warn and then discharge employees after a repeated offense, [for most of these crimes,] there no reason for the NFL not to implement similar rules.Many of these athletes believe they are not subject to the laws of society.They need a reality check !

  10. Man, I thought it was just me. I don’t ever remember there being a rash of arrests like this. That’s what happens when you take father figures (coaches) away from young players who really need them.

  11. “And tonight after Monday night football we have your favorite athlete on cops NFL edition. Real cops, real NFL stars, real crimes.”

    This is becoming a reality series.

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