Just like any of us who demand friends to remove tags from Facebook photos that are not showing off our best side (to put it mildly), the NFL has many photos that they would love to keep under wraps. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy for the league to prevent their "ugly" side from hitting the media. The media does not give damn if the NFL threatens to end their “friendship” if they don’t comply with their demands to keep not-so-admirable news concerning their affiliates from hitting the mainstream. There is always the option of trying to prevent bad news from developing in the first place, but despite the many rules and regulations emphasized in player contracts, they still manage to sh*t the bed every now and again. And the media eats up any accounts of players less than pristine behavior. To add, it’s not just the players whose actions the NFL has to worry about; bad publicity can be the result of any third party that the league chooses to on board for events or any staff member employed by one of the 32 teams. Let’s just say, there are a lot of corners to cover when it comes to the NFL guarding their brand, and well, they haven’t had the best defensive record.
Be prepared to shake your head as you read on below for the top 15 photos the NFL wished you hadn't seen:
15 Aaron Hernandez- Arrested for Murder
Recently, former NFL star tight end Aaron Hernandez took his own life while in prison at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center. He was serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, and was recently found not guilty of murdering two people in a 2012 drive-by shooting. The news of his suicide was met with mixed emotions from football and non-football fans alike, and rumors continue to circulate media mainstreams regarding the investigation behind his motives and the circumstances leading up to his death. One thing is for sure, Hernandez was set up to have a bright career with the New England Patriots, and prior to his 2013 arrest had signed a massive five-year contract extension that would've paid him nearly $40 million. The picture of his 2013 arrest and eventual demise is a sensitive topic for the organization.
14 Adrian Peterson- Child Abuse
It was a somber day across the league in September 2014 when NFL running back Adrian Peterson turned himself over to authorities on child abuse charges. What was even more unsettling was the faint smile on his mug shot. The then Minnesota Vikings star was accused of beating his 4-year-old son with a tree branch. The child returned home to his mother who noticed the injuries and took the child to a doctor who contacted authorities to report Peterson. Pictures of the injuries show alarming welts and bloody areas. Peterson justifies his actions by explaining that it was the very same type of punishment he received growing up and stressed that the technique (although unpleasant) worked to keep him in line.
He has since shared that he never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury. According to the police report, Peterson allegedly sent text messages to the child's mother saying he "felt bad" because he struck the kid in the testicles. As a result of the indictment for reckless or negligent injury to a child, the NFL suspended him for the rest of the year (without pay) for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
13 Ezekiel Elliott- Exposes Woman's Breast
In the offseason, most players choose to train and improve on their strength and skills. Others, like Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott, enjoy partaking in pulling down women's tops. Okay, just one woman, but Elliott is guilty-as-sin for exposing a woman's breast while partying on St-Patrick’s Day on the roof of a Dallas bar on Greenville Avenue. With a beer in one hand, Elliott reached over with his other hand and pulled down a stranger’s top who scrambled to cover up. As per Elliott’s rep, it was all in good fun and the woman actually hung out with Zeke and company post-parade. Parade bosom buddies or not, the head of a national women's rights group UltraViolet Shaun Thomas thinks otherwise. She is calling for the NFL to take immediate disciplinary action to prove that the league is serious about protecting women and that the law should arrest Elliott for sexual assault. I am sure the NFL would have loved to know what Elliott was thinking exposing the lady's nips while surrounded by flashing lights. Stay classy Elliott!
12 Giants - Playoff "Preparation"
When the New York Giants lost 38-13 in the 2017 postseason against the Green Bay Packers, many fans highlighted the team’s wide outs in their blame game. The guilty players - including Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz- chose not to fly back to New York City with the team after their win against the Washington Redskins (securing their wild card slot). Instead, someone had the bright idea that instead of preparing for round one of the playoffs they should jet off to Miami to attend a boat party with recording R&B artist Trey Songz. And jet off they did! As anyone with half a brain can imagine, they caught major heat for how they choose to “prepare” for the postseason. It is safe to say that partying on a boat isn’t the best way to prepare mentally and physically for the NFL playoffs, and it is definitely not recommended by any league professional.
Although their choice in how to deal with playoff jitters was disappointing to most, Giants co-owner Steve Tisch was angry on another level... He wished he had been invited!
11 Rob Gronkowski - Offseason Wrestling
Now I know that NFL players have rules and regulations in their contract pertaining to the activities they are not allowed to engage in that may result in bodily harm, and therefore, rendering them unable to perform their job. Apparently, that doesn’t cover pro wrestling as New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski dominated the ring at WrestleMania 33. The tight end is not only known for his talents on the field, but for his extremely outgoing personality, which led him to his wrestling debut.
While watching his friend Mojo Rawley get annihilated by Jinder Mahal during the 4th annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, Gronkowski had to take matters into his own hands. Without a moment’s hesitation about his physical well-being, he hopped into the ring to bring the pain to Jinder. Not at all worried about any potential injuries, friends come first to the NFL for Gronk.
10 Jay Cutler - Rear View
I think we can all agree that this photograph is probably something that free agent Jay Cutler’s wife should have kept to herself while vacationing in Mexico during the offseason. As neither the NFL nor the rest of the world is very interested in seeing Cutler naked, standing carefree despite being jobless, across the media. To add, I don’t believe that the league is interested in Cutler’s 11-year tenure being the butt of a joke. Then again, we have seen him fall flat on it many times since the debut of his professional career in the 2006. Maybe it is time that we get up close and personal to the former Chicago Bears quarterback, whether it be for a good laugh or to swoon (depending on your taste). In any case, a warning would have be nice from Kristin Cavallari because that is one bare ass.
9 Colin Kaepernick - Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential
Former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and current free agent, Mr. Colin Kaepernick has been the cause of an ongoing headache for the NFL that they just can’t seem to shake. It all started when he sparked a movement around the league by refusing to stand during the national anthem to bring awareness to social injustice inequality. His choice to kneel was met with an equal amount of support as criticism. Many critics felt his behavior was extremely disrespectful to those Americans whom have fought to defend their country while others believed it was a distraction to the game. The controversy played its part in the starter being benched and ultimately released by the 49ers.
Following his release, rumors began to circulate insinuating that the league was blackballing Kaepernick as he remains to this day a free agent despite still being one of the most skillful and experienced quarterbacks on the market. Blackballing a player that was recently listed in Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people isn't a good look for the league.
8 David Parry - Dirty Mouthing Police
In recent news, Indianapolis Colts lineman David Parry used choice homophobic slurs while mouthing off at cops during his drunken arrest in Scottsdale, Arizona. The defensive player was a hot mess when approached by Scottsdale PD. The reason for the confrontation? He attacked a taxi cart driver and proceeded to steal his vehicle. Parry called them "f***ing f***ots," and made it a point to exclaim to each officer individually that they are a b***h. Parry eventually confessed to the officers that he drank a little more than he should have earlier that night. A little more than he should have is an understatement as a trash can was placed beside him in jail just in case he had to actually puke because the man was convulsing. Parry was arrested for several crimes including robbery, theft, resisting arrest, DUI and more. Cherry on top? Police struggled to handcuff him and needed leg irons to secure his wrists.
7 Aqib Talib - Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound
June 2016 marks the month in which the Denver Broncos Pro Bowler Aqib Talib suffered a gunshot wound to his right leg. The trigger-happy suspect: himself. Yes indeed, the gunshot wound was self-inflicted. Initially, Talib told police he was shot at a Dallas nightclub, but later recounted that story and claimed that he was too drunk the night of the incident to remember what happened. Other sources reported that Talib had told friends he inadvertently shot himself while hanging out at a park in the early morning hours. Along with a full recovery, surprisingly, the NFL chose not to pursue any disciplinary measures relating to their Personal Conduct Policy against the star corner back.
With this being the second time a NFL player suffers from a self-inflicted gunshot wound (ahem, Plaxico Burress), these players are not looking like the brightest crayons in the box and it certainly doesn’t say much about the organizations that are employing them.
6 Michael Floyd - Passed Out At Green Light
NFL wide receiver Michael Floyd passed out behind the wheel of his SUV while in traffic. Around 3am on the morning of December 20th, police noticed the former Arizona Cardinals player’s Cadillac Escalade stopped at a green traffic light for an extended period of time. When they approached his car, Floyd was in the driver’s seat in la-la land with his mouth wide open. The police officers woke him up by banging on his window. Dazed and confused, he had no idea of his location, the time, and stated that he had been drinking wine but couldn’t give a straight answer to how many glasses he seemingly inhaled earlier that night.
To add, he came around enough to decline their request for a breathalyzer test. Needless to say, the video of the encounter went viral and he was arrested for a DUI. Icing on this cake, the New England Patriots picked this class-act up after being released from the Cardinals following the incident.
5 Ray Rice - Drags Girlfriend From Elevator
Former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice punched and knocked out his wife during an elevator dispute in February of 2014. He then proceeded to drag her unconscious body away from the elevator door. The elevator’s video camera captured the entire incident and it was leaked to the public in segments at different times. Prior to the leaks, across the league Rice was known as a stud running back and a prominent face of the Ravens’ franchise. This incident was riddled in controversy as many believe that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was made privy of all details surrounding the incident shortly after it unfolded, and only initially handed down a two game suspension to Rice.
Ultimately, when all footage was publicly released weeks following the incident, the Ravens terminated the running back’s contract and the league followed by suspending Rice indefinitely. By that time, damage to the league’s reputation was irreversible as they’ve been accused on multiple accounts of turning a blind eye to domestic violence.
4 Star NFL Players Hanging With Manziel
One thing I’d bet my money on is that the NFL does not want their players (especially their stars) hanging out with former Cleveland Browns player Johnny Manziel. Actually, let me correct myself- they don’t want their players publicly hanging out with the troublemaker. Manziel has been nothing but a stress inducer to the league whether it be insulting their treatment of players in court or taking bottles of booze to the head while still a starting quarterback in season. Well, tough luck to the league, because this past offseason Manziel has been sighted with star players Denver Broncos Von Miller and the New York Giants Odell Beckham just to name a few.
I mean sure, I would be nervous too that Manziel’s reckless behavior would rub off on some of the league’s most famous faces and cause them to spiral on and off the field. However, they are grown men who will ultimately do what’s in their best interest and in the best interest of the league, right? Eep.
3 Richie Incognito - Big Bad Bully
During the 2012–13 season, Incognito along with other Miami Dolphins teammates, bullied and harassed teammate Jonathan Martin, an unnamed teammate, and an assistant trainer. An investigative report was conducted for the NFL in which the starting guard was labelled the main instigator. The harassment included repeatedly and persistently making graphic, sexually explicit comments about Martin's sister and mother, homophobic slurs, racist labels, and uninvited physical touching. After a review by the NFL and NFLPA, Incognito was suspended for the final eight games of the season by the Dolphins, but that didn’t stop the raunchy details of their text exchanges and phone conversations from being exposed to the public. Going unsigned for the 2014 season, he is currently playing with the Buffalo Bills who signed him to a three-year, $15.75 million contract in 2015.
2 Janet Jackson - Nipplegate
The lovely recording artist Janet Jackson and the infamous ‘Nipplegate’ cannot go unmentioned. Although Jackson is not a representative of the league, her Super Bowl performance is one that the NFL would like to have erased from people’s memories (or not, depending on how you look at it). Although some may argue that all publicity is good publicity, the controversial halftime show placed the league into some scalding hot water. Many critics believed that it was a pre-planned publicity stunt, while others bashed the league for allowing such a raunchy act during an event that people of all ages watch.
Following the wardrobe incident, the National Football League announced that MTV, which also produced the halftime show for Super Bowl XXXVIII, would not be involved in any halftime shows in the future. The exposure was broadcasted to a total audience of 143.6 million viewers. What a show!
1 Joey Porter - Attacked Bouncer
It’s not always players that the league has to deal with when it comes to tarnishing their brand. Pittsburgh Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter was arrested on January 9, 2017 outside of a South Side bar in Pittsburgh for assaulting a bouncer. Apparently, the doorman would not allow the coach in because the last time he was there Porter threatened his life. When Porter realized his coach’s card was not doing him any favors access wise, he lunged at the bouncer, lifting him off the ground. That is when an off-duty police officer says he rushed in and pulled Porter (who stank of booze) off the bouncer. Porter was arrested for aggravated assault, simple assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness. The Steelers placed Porter on leave following his arrest, but has since been reinstated following some charges being dropped.