BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The following is a commentary blog from FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
What's going on here? It seems every time I turn on the news (or for that matter anchor a sportscast), I learn the NFL's black eye continues to get bigger.
I mean, what's in the water? Or better yet, what's in the players? To say the NFL has a current public relations problem is like saying I like hair gel. Duh!
The last few months have been shameful to the NFL, and if Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn't act swiftly, America's favorite league could soon take a hit of its own.
What has been the cause of so much violence and poor behavior from NFL players? Steroids? The pressure of playing in the NFL? Player entitlement?
I'm no Dr. Phil, so I won't go there, but what I will do is offer up some interesting numbers provided by some reputable sources.
According to a USA Today NFL arrest database, there have been 732 NFL players arrested since the year 2000. Now, being arrested for marijuana possession counts the same in this database as being charged with assault after choking a girlfriend (see Greg Hardy), but the numbers are astonishing.
A study from SanDiego.com reveals that between 40 and 50 NFL players have been arrested since January of this year. And there's more bad news!
The New York Times reports more shocking numbers: 1 in 40 NFL players will be arrested in any given year. The highest number of arrests since 2000 came in the years 2006, 2007 and 2008. Arrests this year in fact have been down.
Of over 700 player arrests since 2000, 202 have been for DUI, followed by assault (88) and domestic violence (85).
You can count dozens of current and former NFL players as slam dunk members of the NFL's Hall Of Shame, many players inducted after embarrassing episodes:
Mike Vrabel caught stealing from a riverboat casino.
Marcell Dareus charged with reckless endangerment after street racing.
Past members of the Minnesota Vikings enjoying their "sex boat" and my favorite, Louis Murphy charged with having Viagra in his car without a prescription.
But it is too hard to ignore the serious charges that have recently permeated the league, charges with have included:
Adrian Peterson (child abuse)
Ray Rice (domestic assault)
Jonathan Dwyer (domestic assault, head-butting his wife)
Ray McDonald (domestic violence)
Greg Hardy (domestic assault)
Aaron Hernandez (1st degree murder)
Titus Young (assaulting a police officer)
Chad Johnson (domestic battery)
Plaxico Burress (criminal possession of a handgun)
How bad has it become? You know it's bad when Dez Bryant is charged with assaulting his own mother!
It's time for Commissioner Goodell to take action, especially on the domestic violence front. His policies have been uneven at best, his punishment guidelines scattered.
And if Goodell doesn't "Roger that" it's time for him to step aside and make way for new NFL commissioner Condoleezza Rice.