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.