With our society changing, violence and criminal activity is at an all-time high. We are constantly being bombarded with images of workplace shootings, violent video games, and a government shutdown that has this country divided. With our lives and the individuals in it constantly changing, if it affects the average American citizen, how could it not affect the athletes that play professional sports? Just because we are in a more violent society doesn’t mean that the NFL, or any other sports franchise, is to blame.
Aaron Hernandez has become the poster child of professional athletes in trouble. Hernandez has been charged with 1st degree murder in the killing 27-year-old Odin Lloyd over a dispute that we may never know the truth about. He was also charged with 5 gun related charges. Hernandez was an up-and-coming young star for the New England Patriots who had multiple weapons and a history of gang activity. Aaron Hernandez had a history of making bad decisions, fights, and reported failed drug test while at the University of Florida. This lifestyle was not the fault of pro sports, but of the society that we live in. New England wasted no time in releasing Hernandez just two hours after his arrest.
Aldon Smith of the San Francisco 49ers is the latest professional athlete to receive negative media attention. Smith was a first-round draft pick in 2011. In his 35 career games, Smith has recorded a team leading 38 sacks. He was charged with Driving Under the Influence on September 20, 2013.
The DUI charge was bad enough, but two and a half weeks after his DUI arrest, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office filed 3 additional felony charges against Smith for possession of an assault weapon in conjunction with a June 2012 house party in which two people were shot.
Many pro athletes are success stories in their own right, staying focused and fulfilling a lifelong dream of pro sports and financial freedom. But you cannot blame professional sports if these athletes can’t handle everything they have always wanted. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of emotion and intensity on the football field, but let’s not forget it’s just a game not real life.