Yesterday, NFL boss, Commissioner Roger Goodell, visited Berea and met with the Browns’ players, coaches, executives, and media. It reminds me of the meetings we had at Cincinnati Christian before semesters and breaks. It was the, “Remember you represent us, so don’t make us look bad” kind of pep talk. But according to the responses of Browns’ players and Coach Crennel it meant more than that and was very well received.
Rookie Defensive Back Eric Wright said about Goodell, “He’s going to defend and have our best interest in mind, so you have to respect that.” Even veteran Wide Receiver Joe Jurevicius was impressed, “It’s obvious his message is going to be effective.”
Romeo Crennel agreed with Goodell’s approach to discipline, “Basically, we are all responsible for what we do,” said Coach Crennel. “And if we don’t do the right thing, there’s a consequence to be paid for it. And that’s all of us. So a rule is a rule, we know what it is, and if we don’t follow the rule we have to pay the price.”
I really like the positive attitude by the Browns to Goodell’s discipline program. I think it’s high time that players are held accountable for their behavior instead of running amok like the priviledged seem to feel they are due these days. Whether troubled football stars like Adam “Pacman” Jones, Tank Johnson, or former Buckeye Maurice Clarett or troubling socialites like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, and Nicole Richey the current generation of wealthy public figures appear to believe that they should be allowed to do as they please without penalty. However, those are the exception, the few, not the majority. For every Michael Vick facing charges and jail time there are many NFL stars working hard to better themselves. For every Pacman Jones there are hundreds of NFL players living up to their responsibility as role modle for kids and as community leaders.
Players Like Troy Polamalu working with less fortunate teens as a mentor or with the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Or Ladanian Tomlinson working in his community with programs like the “Giving Thanks with LT” providing Thanksgiving meals to less fortunate families or the “LT School is Cool” scholarship program. Or Roberto Garza feeding the homeless and mentoring young people. Check it out at http://national.unitedway.org/nfl/ . And these are just a few.
I believe that we will see a new trend in the NFL as far as behavior is concerned. It is my hope that with Goodell at the helm and the support of coaches and dedicated players the spotlight will turn from off the field stupidity to on the field performance and off the field leadership. If it works in the NFL, hopefully the NBA and MLB will follow suit.