If the NFL were a child’s playground, you would lock them all inside and throw away the key. The parents of some of these men need a long look at themselves as the scandals over the past few years continue to skyrocket through the roof.
Fortunately the likes of Ray McDonald and Ray Rice are sitting out on the free agency list. NFL franchises might not be making these cuts out of the goodness of their heart, but when the fans and sponsors speak then it’s about time they start listening.
From illegal weapons possession to battery, domestic violence or assault, footballers have a horrible habit of following through on terrible choices in their down time. Before long the league will have to change the carrot to the stick and banish these bad boys from representing their organization.
In comparison to all of these dramas dragging the sport through the mud, Deflategate was something of a welcomed distraction this year. It told the world that Roger Goddell wasn’t the only one lacking the appropriate sized balls to get the job done.
Naming and shaming the worst of the worst becomes a case of weeding out the good guys from the regulars. Supporters across the league have looked on in horror as opposition players from other clubs are caught out, only to think they’re immune from it ever happening to them.
If these 15 players don’t shape up, they should be shipped out. No more chances, no more excuses. These are the serial problem childs of the NFL right now.
15 Marshawn Lynch
He’s a wild child this one. The game needs characters and Marshawn Lynch fits that particular bill hands down, but like any extrovert he can be wildly unpredictable. Seahawk Nation goes crazy when he transitions into beast mode, but those Seattle fans would like to forget the moment he swerved across lanes of traffic on a California highway in 2012. The subsequent arrest under investigation of DUI only resulted in a glorified slap on the wrist, yet it illustrates how out of control Marshawn can be. His heart’s in the right place, let’s just hope he is in the right place on the road in future.
14 Chris Owens
6 franchises in 6 seasons tells us one of two things. Either he’s struggled to meet the professional standards of the NFL from his days at San Jose State College, or he has a lot going on off the field that hampers his development. At 29 he’s running out of time and you feel as though the New Orleans Saints is a make or break moment for Owens. It’s a lot to come back from his horror moment in 2011 while at Atlanta, allegedly destroying his ex-girlfriend’s apartment before dousing the place with bleach. That doesn’t speak to a grounded individual, only a reckless one.
13 Pat McAfee
Pat McAfee looks like a kid who lives for spring break. The 28-year old Indianapolis Colts punter might have some philanthropic credits in the bank, but he’s making up for a hell of a mistake in 2010. A class B misdemeanor for public intoxication confirmed that the all nighter was a good one, being found wet and shirtless down at a popular nightclub. A blood alcohol reading of 0.15 shortly after came as no surprise. McAfee’s not an evil guy, just a little bit on the simple side.
12 Kenny Britt
Big bustling Kenny Britt is a sizeable wide receiver with a good turn of speed. This is great when you’re elusively avoiding defenders, quite another when you’re using those skills to run away from the cops! In 2011 the former Tennessee Titans player was charged with eluding an officer and speeding away in his Porsche, before being handcuffed by police for alleged marijuana possession a day later in a separate sting. Whether it was motivated by racial profiling or not, Britt handled both situations poorly.
11 Ben Roethlisberger
One of the premier players in the NFL and also one of the premier sexual deviants to boot, allegedly. Ben Roethlisberger’s 2008 and 2010 sexual assault allegations haven’t come to any charges with a settlement coming in one instance. That civil lawsuit claimed the Steelers quarterback raped the female in question while he was in Lake Tahoe for a celebrity golf tournament, something which doesn’t get thrown around lightly. This was followed two years later during an incident at Capital City where a 20-year old student accused him of doing likewise. We like to hold the view that these players are innocent until proven guilty, but like Bill Cosby you can’t help but wonder where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.
10 Richie Incognito Jr.
Richie Incognito is not a warm and fuzzy character. Bullygate exposed the former Dolphins guard for what he is – a big fat bully. The racial vilification, slander and betrayal of privacy regarding Jonathan Martin was outrageous in isolation, yet the guy has history with going out on a whim to suit his own selfish agenda. Throw in allegations of eye gouging and punching into the mix and you get a cocktail of wrong. The world would be better off if he lived up to his name and stayed incognito.
9 Michael Vick
There are feel good redemption stories that makes football the great sport it is, then there are redemptions that leave a void. Does Michael Vick deserve his shot after being found guilty of running a dog fighting ring? This goes beyond an animal activist cause because it speaks to so much about the quarterback’s complete lack of judgment and empathy about things other than himself. The bumper contract at the Eagles and now a move to the Steelers tells us the NFL couldn’t care less about any of this so long as he can throw a football.
8 Aldon Smith
The Oakland Raiders are doing great things in 2015 with a young list this year, it’s a shame Aldon Smith isn’t experiencing it on the field right now. His suspension by the NFL during his days at San Francisco for substance abuse was followed by a hat trick of DUIs, something verging on a record for NFL athletes. The August arrest also carried charges for an alleged hit and run plus vandalism for good measure. His wrap sheet is appearing more like a database of bad choices, so who knows how much longer Aldon Smith will be associated with the sport.
7 Adam Jones
The cornerback’s stop-start NFL career at the Titans and Cowboys can be directly traced back to different incidents off the field that affected his standing in the dressing room. Fighting probations, felony, assault and vandalism charges all came before public intoxication during a training camp. Then everything blew up when he was taken in by police for his role in a Las Vegas shooting, putting Jones right up there with the bad boys of the NFL. He’s had a tough time but it’s all down to his own making.
6 Aqib Talib
The DNA of a quality cornerback is to snuff out danger and batter your opponent into submission. Aqib Talib has these attributes, the only issue for him is knowing when to engage and when to pull back. The 29-year old Bronco had a rough history with his previous franchises in Tampa and New England, once for hitting a taxi driver in 2009 and again in 2011 when he turned himself in for aggravated assault. The latter charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence so let’s hope rather than assume Talib will stay out of the courts.
5 Dez Bryant
Cowboys star wide receiver Dez Bryant had his name splashed all over the front and pack pages in 2012, but not for anything worthwhile. The footballer was arrested on charges of domestic violence for striking his mother after she told him to leave the house, according to reports from Texas police and CBS Dallas. The $1,500 bail was nothing more than change out of Bryant’s pocket for one of the wealthiest players in the game and he did his upmost to sweep the problem under the rug.
4 Louis Murphy
When Florida police pulled over Louis Murphy on the road, they would have no idea what they were about to discover. The wide receiver was in the middle of a 2-year spell with the Oakland Raiders and informed him to turn the volume levels down in his car. They found Murphy holding onto Viagra and other drugs without any prescription before charging him with resisting arrest. Hopefully he didn’t use the old “don’t you know who I am?” trick because that is the action of a truly petulant child.
3 Adrian Peterson
Not only is Adrian Peterson a bad person, but from what we know so far he’s also a bad father. How else could you describe a parent who disciplines their 4-year old with a tree branch in a “reckless or negligent” manner? The 30-year old Vikings running back can handle running into 250 lbs. defensive ends at full speed, yet when it comes to his own toddler he resorts to that? With an absent father who went to prison over drug laundering perhaps he never had a role model growing up. This theory didn’t hold much water when allegations arose that he used funds from a personal charity to attend an orgy. Please don’t confuse Adrian Peterson for a role model people.
2 Greg Hardy
As Katie Nolan eloquently put it: “Greg Hardy has an anger problem.” Her analysis of the situation summed up the guy perfectly – firstly that he’s got some serious personal issues and secondly that the entire Cowboys organization refuses to hold him to account. That includes his teammates, the coach and the owners. The “Help me!” fiasco this season comes after a jury conviction for choking and threatening to kill his girlfriend during his days at the Panthers. Hardy’s been called a “ticking time bomb” in the past and when Nolan argued that Jerry Jones and the Cowboys don’t support Greg Hardy, they support sacks, the evidence is overwhelming to back that up.
1 Johnny Manziel
Where do we begin with old Johnny boy? The kid’s not really that bright as he showed during the Browns loss to the 49ers this month, hitting himself in the head with a tablet for punishment. The beleaguered Cleveland franchise has been widely panned for throwing all their eggs into the spoiled 23-year old brat’s basket, overlooking a series of misdemeanors in College. The result? Disorderly conduct, oversleeping, tweeting dumb stuff and drink driving. Johnny Manziel is the poster boy for problem childs in the sport and the sooner the Browns get rid of him, the sooner they can begin the journey of creating a winning football team.