This week’s opinion is a controversial subject and one that is sure to elicit negative reaction by some. Should NFL players with felonies be allowed to play in the NFL?
My opinion is that any player who has been found guilty of a felony, in which a violent act or acts took place, should be banned from the NFL for life. My opinion isn’t based on any legal issues. It’s an opinion from a fan.
Would that mean that Michael Vick, an ex-con convicted for his part in a dog fighting ring, would be banned from the NFL? Yes. Does that mean Minnesota Vikings player Chris Cook should be banned from the NFL for an incident in which it was alleged that he beat up his girlfriend. Chris Cook has been charged with domestic battery. Yes, he should be banned for life if convicted.
While I’m sure there is some legal argument that a team or the NFL can’t publicly ban a player who has a felony, the game may be taken more seriously by its fans if the NFL took that approach. Some American corporations won’t hire an ex-felon, so why can’t the NFL have that same approach?
My reasoning for banning someone with a felony has less to do with moral reasons and more to do with eliminating a violent person from a physically violent sport.
With the recent findings by the NFL that the New Orleans Saints had a bounty program that rewarded its players for injuring their opponents and knocking them out of the game, would convicted felons be more prone to taking part in that program? While I don’t have any stats if felons were involved, I do believe the risk increases. I think it makes an inherently violent athlete, who has been found guilty of a violent crime, more prone to taking part in these activities.
I also believe that someone with a felony who has already disregarded the law and didn’t have respect for his fellow human beings is more prone to showing disrespect for their opponents.
Sure, someone can be rehabilitated, but should the NFL be that second chance? No. The NFL has taken player injuries, especially concussions, seriously under Roger Goodell’s leadership. I think having players who’ve been shown to disrespect opponents or civilians should have no place in the game.
The other reason that I feel this way has to do with money. The NFL is being sued left, right, and center these days by ex-players due to injuries they sustained during their playing days. If a felon were to seriously injure an opponent, could the NFL be sued by that player?
I’m guessing it will open the NFL up to future lawsuits. An injured player could claim that the NFL knew of the player’s violent past but disregarded that information and put NFL player at risk.
I think that there’s too much at stake in the current NFL for the league to allow individuals with violent criminal pasts to be allowed to play at this level. I know that’s probably not a popular opinion, but that’s how I feel.