How bad actors threaten NFL Inc.
With 27 pro football players arrested just since the Super Bowl, the league is staring at a huge image problem.
Though he has taken a hard line on player misbehavior, the public seems to perceive increasingly that NFL players don't feel bound by the rules that govern the rest of society. As CBS News noted, 27 players have been arrested just since the last Super Bowl in February. Although that represents only about 1% of NFL players, these incidents can be pretty lurid and attract plenty of media attention.
For instance, Cleveland Browns rookie Ausar Walcott allegedly punched a man in the head outside a New Jersey club and faces attempted murder charges. Adam "Pacman" Jones of the Cincinnati Bengals faces assault charges after confronting a woman at a nightclub. Whether these incidents will have any long-term consequences for the NFL remains to be seen. But for the NFL, which earned a reported $9.5 billion in revenue last year, players' misdeeds add to some other issues that could blunt its momentum.
Its 32 teams expect modest growth this year because of the lingering uncertainty over the economy, according to a January report from Bloomberg News. The league is also trying to encourage more fans to attend games in person, since ticket revenue has been flat for years.
The NFL's financial fortunes, however, will improve in 2014, when the extension for its TV rights kicks in and boosts TV revenue to an average $7 billion annually, from $5.1 billion currently. NFL game telecasts continually attract huge audiences.
Then there are the concussion lawsuits, some 200 of them from 4,300 players who accuse the league of not doing enough to protect them from the health effects of head injuries. Some experts say the litigation could wind up costing billions. The NFL repeatedly has denied wrongdoing in connection with these cases, but the images of suffering ex-players with neurological problems don't help it in the court of public opinion.
The Hernandez case will fade from people's memory eventually. But many parents, even those who love the game, are having misgivings about letting their children play football because of the concussion dangers and the poor role models that some players provide. Addressing these misgivings is vital for the sport's long-term survival.
Follow Jonathan Berr on Twitter @jdberr.
I like football, but find myself getting more and more disgusted with the conduct of a lot of the players, and execs, of the NFL
They'll bounce back though. We have a short memory in America for bad behavior any more, as long as we're entertained!
I am very patriotic, but a lot of things are not of the same nature that I said my Pledge of Allegiance for.
Welcome to the United States of Entertainment!!!
Almost completely done with professional sports 10 years ago and get more so every year. I really wish society would clean up its act then start expecting more civil behavior from these over paid thugs and boycott them until that time comes.
Lets see now. You take a kid, fresh out of college and hand him a check for forty million dollars. Or 30, or 50, what's the difference? Then you expect him, at the ripe old age of 22 or 23 to behave like a responsible adult. What could possibly go wrong with that? Especially when he has grown up watching players and ex players get away with every conceivable crime, form drug possession to first degree murder.
Then you have the vilification of Tebow, simply because he is of good moral character and you have developed a recipe for thugs and goons to join the pro ranks, get the big bucks and start their criminal empire, absolutely convinced they are above the law because OJ, Kobe and others have proven it to be so. I place about 50% of the blame for this on the media who treat these animals like gods and treat a decent person like Tebow like a pariah, and the other 50% on the NFL for giving these animals these huge checks and expecting them to react rationally.
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