Ray Rice may be getting all the headlines, but he's not the only one at fault.
In light of the instance involving the Ray Rice fiasco and the discussion involving domestic violence, that has been so publicly played out over the last couple of weeks, should we as a society start to examine if there is a much larger issue at play with all of this? That issue being, there may be a deeper sociological reason to why so many athletes are prone to such violent outbursts off the field. While some athletes can separate their jobs from there personal lives, it seems like some may not be able to hit that averrable switch from on to off in their everyday lives.
Think about it. Many of the people we see on tv over the course of the year, have been taught their entire lives to do whatever it takes to become victorious. Applying this to the average NFL player, who plays on the defensive side of the ball, this would virtually mean for them to do their job to the highest capability, they need to hit the offensive players they come across as hard as humanly possible. Their job in a nutshell is to hit people, over and over again until they either get hurt, or the game ends. If they fail to do their job adequately, then they get ushered with Boo's from up to 75,000 fans on average and labeled as being too soft by the masses. There is no common ground, your either going to be spoken of as a tough guy or the one who wasn’t strong enough to make the tackle. Their manhood gets questioned on a daily basis, which is borderline funny seeing they more in likely find themselves in the very highest percentile of humans on this planet, in terms of physical fitness and strength.
Taking a set back for a second, it is fair to say the National Football League has a problem with domestic abuse. According to Fivethirtyeight.com, who work primarily with applying statistics to sport, they found that The NFL has a 55.4 percent arrest rate for domestic violence, relative to the national average. That percentage is by far the worst for any crime being committed by NFL players, when compared to the national public at large. In fact, it was a whole ten percent higher then the next worst offense, that being nonviolent gun related charges.
While these facts highlight a huge problem facing the NFL, maybe what disturbs people the most regarding the entire situation, is that it doesn’t seem like much is being down on the part of the NFL to actually bring about change. While many will focus in on the Ray Rice situation and how the NFL seemingly botched that entire process, let’s not fail to look elsewhere.
On week one of the NFL season, two players who currently find themselves in on going domestic abuse cases, Ray Mcdonald of the 49er’s and Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers, actually played the entire game for their respected teams. It was only after the huge uproar that came from the public, that the Panther’s decided to place Hardy on the NFL’s exempt list.
Two other cases involving violence from NFL players were also highlighted this past week, as first Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested for domestic violence, and it was reported that he head butted his wife and also a day later he threw a shoe at their one year old son as well. Next, Adrian Peterson was arrested for charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child and has since been placed on the same exempt list that Greg Hardy currently finds himself on. Disappointingly enough, Adrian Peterson stands out as one of the most recognizable players in the entire league and this will certainly make the NFL question its own reputation (which we know they care a lot about).
I highlight all of these acts, not to harp, but to rather show that the violence problem with NFL players may be getting a tad out of control. Is it that far fetched to question whether or not some NFL players, who are used to being control on the field and in some cases even feared by their opponents, want to be viewed in a similar light when there away from the game? If a player is frustrated during the course of a football game, he can release a lot of that anger on the opposing team, in the form of a big hit, to help him vent away some of his past irritation. When away from the football field, the average individual can not do this without finding themselves in a jail cell for a night or two. This divide between real life and the one that takes place between the hash marks, is so incomprehensible that it’s hard to find a good comparison for what the average NFL player must be feeling when he is on that field. The only thing that comes to mind, would be the gladiators that fought in the Roman Coliseum. Both risking their lives to virtually bring entertainment to large amounts of spectators. It’s probably safe to say that would phase you or I as well right?
Lastly, I think for real progress to be made in helping solve the off the field violence problem facing the NFL, it all starts with a change in culture. I believe their exists a culture in the NFL (and maybe in football at all levels) currently centered around a couple of principles that without a doubt make the game more enjoyable, but may be, to some extent, warping the way these athletes live their lives away from the game. In particular, football players are taught to have tough guy mentalities and look upon anyone they don’t view as a tough guy, in their minds, as not important. The NFL would be wise to take a hard look at various ways they can help their players deviate away from such mindsets, at all levels of competition, before things get even worse than they currently are.
Jameis Winston's off the field actions are starting to become over the top and straight confusing.
It seems like every six months since the world was introduced to Jameis Winston, there has been some kind of distraction that has been attached to his name. The guy is a very talented football player, who very well could be the first pick in the NFL Draft one day, however that will not be the case if his off the field behavior does not get itself under control. With a current record of 2-0, the Florida State seminoles are looking to repeat as national champs, after a season that saw them finally dethrone the SEC from the throne a top college football. They are at the moment the favorites to win this years trophy, but a lot of that depends upon the man under center playing quarterback for the Seminoles.
Taking a look at Jameis Winston's off the field behavior, since his arrival at Florida State, does not paint a very pretty picture of what the sophomore quarterback may really be like in his personal life. It starts with a july 2011 incident where he was accused of stealing soda from a local Burger King, and apparently used ketchup cups to do so. The act in itself is a very childish one and not the kind of behavior you want displayed by anyone representing a major university the size of Florida State. While many will chalk this up to just immaturity, it still has to be said that Winston knew what he was doing with this whole scenario.
Winston's next headline making action unfortunately was one that became an ongoing story through out the entire 2013 college football season. In December of 2012 Winston was accused of raping an FSU student, with the charges not becoming public until November of 2013. The final verdict on the situation was made by the State Attorney, who announced they would not press charges against Winston due to a lack of evidence to meet the burden of proof. It is worth noting however that Georgia Cappleman, the chief assistant state attorney who helped operate the sexual-assault investigation, told The New York Times this past April that "I believe that Mr. Winston cannot be convicted. I don't necessarily believe that he's innocent". While Winston was cleared in this case, he still shouldn't have allowed himself to get into that position in the first place and by doing so, he could have costed his team a chance at the title.
The last two reports that have surfaced concerning the Florida State quarterback have also been on the side of premature behavior as well. Him and his teammate Chris Casher were detained by the Florida State campus police for carrying pellet guns near campus. Then later that week, Winston and Casher were investigated for causing damages costing roughly 4,000 dollars to fix, in their apartment complex at the time. To top it all off, this past April Winston was cited for shoplifting seafood at a local Tallahassee grocery store. He was suspended from the baseball team for a week and was required to participate in community service as well.
Now today we get word of Jameis Winston's latest misdeed. It is reported that Winston climbed onto one of the tables in his schools student union center and proceeded to yell a sexually lewd comment, that was described as being highly offensive to women. He will be suspended for the first half of this Saturday's ACC showdown between Florida State and Clemson and coach Jimbo Fisher was highly disappointed in his star quarterback when asked about it today.
To be frankly honest, outside of the rape accusation, this is by far the worst thing that Winston has been cited of doing this far. He just got done going through a rape case and 7 months later he's yelling sexually explicit comments in a student union, where at the minimum 200 people probably heard the comments. The act in itself is childish but when you take into account Winston's past, this comes off as clueless on Winston's part. The events of today will do nothing but serve Jameis in a negative way. There will be people who will view Winston as a guy who truly doesn't respect women (If they didn't already think that) and his status as a bad apple will just continue to fester in the public eye.
Winston better hope that back up quarterback Sean Maguire is able to keep the ship afloat come Saturday night or he just might have the fan base turn on him to some extent. Clemson, currently ranked 22nd in the country, are no slouches and will be even more fired up now to try and ruin Florida State's season. Jameis Winston, to his credit, did own up to how selfish this behavior was today, but really he just needs to be more aware of how stupid stuff like this could really derail his draft status, his team's season, and most importantly the average person around him. In a week where domestic abuse has been the main topic in the headlines for the sports world, Winston should know better than to further add to the fire by making any sort of comment that attempts to belittle women in any way.
Moving Forward, Winston will be hard pressed to recover some of his self image back, but honestly thats not the main point in all of this. I think for Jameis Winston, it's understanding that it's time to buck up and stop with the highly immature actions before this escalates into something that could severally damage his future. I know people will say these are all small matters, outside of the rape accusation, but at the same time anyone who acts likes Winston's behavior is not concerning is delusional. Next time Winston decides to do something questionable, I hope he will choose to use more foresight, so that we can just focus on his excellent play on the field and not this nonsense off of it.
It's that time of the year again, when millions of Americans spend their Sunday's (and Monday nights) watching a bunch of grown men attempt to smash one another into the ground for the right to win the most coveted trophy in all of North American sports. Last season ended with one of the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history, as the Seattle Seahawks, and their vaunted defense, tamed Peyton Manning's historically great offense (or what was suppose to be a historically great offense). Hey at least Bruno Mars was good right?
With the new season just hours away from kicking off tonight, I just want to put my Divisional and Super Bowl picks on the record, so no one can question me come February. While everyone is very quick to put Denver and Seattle back in the big game for a second straight year, how many times has that happened in resent memory? Time to take the blinders off and view every teams real chance of winning the division and SuperBowl, not just the so called favorites. I will start with the individual divisions, then discuss the playoff match ups before picking my champion come season's end. Well here goes nothing.
I had a really hard time with this division, but I ultimately decided to go with the Bengals because I just think there the best team by default. Offensively, I think Andy Dalton will improve and honestly he has a nice arsenal of play makers around him this season in Bernard, Green and Eifert that should help him get off to a strong start this season. Defensively, the Bengals get back Geno Atkins, a top three defensive lineman in the entire league, and as a unit I think they are one of the strongest in the entire league. My biggest question mark with the Bengals lies in the afore mentioned Andy Dalton. While I think he will be better this season, will it be better enough to make a run at the Superbowl? Tough question, but we shall see. I have them at 11-5 and the 3 seed going into the playoffs.
As for the other teams, both Pittsburgh and Baltimore have the same flaws in my opinion. Both will struggle in all aspects of offense this season (particularly on the offensive line) and their once respected defenses have become not so respectable anymore. Can Joe Flacco and Big Ben carry their teams to the post season? Once upon a time I would have said yes but not this season unfortunately. In regards to Cleveland, I love their potential future just not their present. I really wish Josh Gordon had not gotten suspended (love watching him) but now sadly the Browns will be lining up on Sundays this fall with one of the worst offensive units in football. This is sad seeing defensively they are very above average and really do possess strong line play on both sides. At least the whole God hates Cleveland saying is starting to fade just a tad, what with Lebron coming home and bring Kevin Love with him. Theres hope Cleveland! Stay positive.
1. New England
3. N.Y Jets
Let's be honest does anyone see New England not winning the division while Tom Brady is playing quarterback for the Patriots? Not me. Honestly, it's not even just Brady. Key additions on defense such as Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, while also getting Mayo and Wilfork back on defense should have the Patriots producing in the top five defensive category in the NFL this season. Gronk is healthy (for now) and when he plays, the Patriots offense is just on a never level. I see a monster 13-3 regular season from the Patriots this season, giving them the one seed, as the schedule shapes out to be one of the easier in the league as well.
I really like Miami's chances of making the playoffs this season. I think the Richie Incognito controversy, proved to be too much of a distraction for the Dolphins last season and really wrecked their season. I think the focus will be laser sharp this season and I see Ryan Tannehill having a break out year. Their defense should be much improved from last season, with Dion Jordan in his second season, along with his counterpart Cameron Wake rushing the passer. Also, I really liked the Moreno signing at running back. He could really help take some of the pressure off of Tannehill. In the end, I see the Dolphins finishing up at 9-7 and sneaking into the playoffs as the 6 seed in the AFC.
I won't spend too much time on the Bills and Jets, both of whom I think will not be very good this season. I question both of these teams at the quarterback position (and that's usually a good indicator of why you have issues). For the Jets, Geno Smith struggled a lot last season and I don't see it getting much better and for the Bills E.J Manuel looked very questionable in the pre season (to be kind), leading many to question his status as the starter. The Bills did sign Kyle Orton just this last week, so Manuel's days may be numbered as the starter. Big Picture for this season, These teams will stay in games because of their defenses (which are both pretty solid) but unfortunately you have to score points to win games, so yeah sorry Buffalo and N.Y.
What will for sure be one of the worst divisions in the entire NFL (just like it is every year) I'm going with the Colts by default. Yes I am a die hard Colts fans, is this a fan pick? Nope I still think there good enough to win this terrible division. They have improved on offense with the signing of Hakeem Nicks and the return of Reggie Wayne from injury. Trent Richardson can't possibly be as terrible as he was last season, so hopefully we should see some improvement at the running back position. Andrew Luck will continue to get better (which is scary seeing he carried the team already in his first two seasons to the playoffs) and like already mentioned he gets to play against this division for six games (major plus). Is the defense great? No not even close. Is there a possibility that the Colts offensive line is going to get Luck killed? Yes, very high actually. Are these problems enough to stop them from winning the division? No I don't think so. That just shows you how God awful this division truly is. I have the Colts finishing up at 10-6, which will be good enough to secure the 4 seed in the AFC.
I do see Houston improving a lot this season, but I just can't take them seriously with Ryan Fitzpatrick starting at quarterback. Honestly, if they had a competent starting quarterback week 1, I would have picked them to win this division. I just can't do it though. It's sad too, seeing they have two awesome play makers on offense (Johnson & Hopkins) and a defensive line consisting of Clowney & Watt. Talk to me next year Houston. As for the other two, I just don't see it. Tennessee made some very questionable signings to say the least this offseason and I just don't trust Jake Locker enough. Jacksonville? Well, you know they will play hard and the future looks bright for Blake Bortles. Other than that? They have an awesome new big Board at their stadium!
2. San Diego
3. Kansas City
I won't lie, I had a tough time deciding here. First off, I think people are seriously over rating Denver for various reason's (we will get to that in a second) and also as someone who has rooted for Peyton Manning my whole life, He struggles against the Chargers for whatever reason. I don't think this is a give me division for Denver I really don't. However, I still think their going to pull it out because I still think that the statement "Were Peyton Manning in the regular season this week" is probably the scariest sentence that a opposing team can hear. He's just money September through December. Also, the defense is much improved and there deeper then they have been in past years. Now for those weaknesses. I think the running game will take a step back, i'm not totally sold on their secondary, and I don't really trust John Fox in big games. Those are three big weaknesses come the end of the season to have. I have them going 12-4, enough to get the 2 seed and win the division.
I really think San Diego is going to be good this season. A true sleeper. I think Phillip Rivers is back to being on the cusp of elite status, their offensive is super efficient, the defense will be much much better and lastly I love Kennan Allen (I think he's going to be a stud). There's so much to love with this team, and I think there a serious candidate for that team that could get really hot at the end of the year and somehow find themselves in the Superbowl. I have them going 11-5 (yep I said it) and grabbing the 5 seed in the AFC.
To put it simply, I think both of these teams are going to be awful. Kansas City won't be able to block anyone (they lost key pieces on the offensive line), I have never trusted Alex Smith, and Defensively they are going to take a step back. I feel bad for Jamal Charles, I really do. As for the Raiders? They are this years winner of the team that I think will be the worst in the entire NFL. Congrats Oakland keep on keeping on.
This was a very interesting division to gage. I'm going with the Packers because I think they have the most complete team. Offensively they are going to be top 4 in the league certainly and defensively I think they will be far more competent then the last couple of years. I look for Eddie Lacy to have a even better second year than his rookie season (which was spectacular in its on regard). Aaron Rogers might just win the MVP (if he can take it from Peyton Manning) but even if he doesn't the Packers will be just fine this season. I've got them going 11-5 and winning the NFC North. This should land them with the 4th seed in the NFC (I know, the NFC is loaded).
The Bears are a very interesting case. I think they will finish second, but this is completely based on the fact that I think their offense will score a ton of points. However, the defense is maybe the worst in the league. I'm worried this will, in a weird way, counter balance and lead them to have an 8-8 season. I'm going to just close my eyes and say that Cutler, Forte, Marshall and company will carry their lousy defense into the playoffs at 10-6 with the 5 seed.
The Lions and Vikings will be the bottom feeders in this division. While I think the Vikings are headed in the right direction, it's just not enough yet to make any noise in the division. The Lions might just be the most frustrating team in the entire league. I say this because I want to like them, I really do, but I just simply don't trust them. I could be wrong about this, but I just feel as if when the Lions are close to doing something right, they will inevitably screw it up (for example see last 4 games of last season).
4. N.Y. Giants
I really like Philadelphia in the NFC East. I think the team will flourish under Chip Kelley in year two of his scheme. LeSean McCoy will win the rushing title this season and Nick Foles may not just through 2 interceptions again but I think he will continue to shine as the starting quarterback. Defensively they looked solid in the preseason and realistically they really started to improve by the end of last season. I know the same team doesn't usually win this division two years in a row but i'm going against the conventional wisdom here. I think they finish 12-4 and take the 3 seed in the NFC.
The other teams in the division all have very distinguishable faults that I believe will hold them back from accomplishing much this season. First, Dallas will probably have the worst defense in the entire NFL this season (Which is sad seeing their offensive has the potential to be very good). Second, Washington might have to reevaluate the status of RG III, who looked very very shaky in the preseason and if he can't make it through this season then the Redskins will have a major problem on their hands. Lastly, the Giants will struggle on both lines and lets pray for Eli that he gets it all together (and doesn't turn back into the rain man).
1. New Orleans
2. Tampa Bay
I love this Saints team a lot. Drew Brees is prone to have a monster year, Rob Ryan will have that defense flying all over the field and Sean Peyton is still one of the best handful of coaches in the entire league. This team looked great in the preseason and Jimmy Graham looks to be poised to prove to the entire league that he is the most versatile weapon in all of football. I think the Saints finish 12-4 and win the tiebreaker with the Eagles for the number 2 seed in the the NFC.
The other 3 teams all very mediocre in my opinion. Tampa Bay will be much improved but at the same time it won't be enough to make any serious noise in the division. I think by next season though, that might have the potential to change under Lovie Smith. Atlanta might have some nice pieces on offense but unfortunately you won't find any on defense, which will be their achilles heel going into this season. Lastly, poor Carolina (and in particular Cam Newton) just lost way to many important pieces in free agency and retirement to even dream of competing in the NFC. I still have no clue who Cam Newton in going to throw the ball to on a regular basis and in the end it could end up being a disaster by season's end.
2. San Francisco
4. St. Louis
Seattle will remain on the top of this division. They in essence remain the same team from last year, with the exception of having Percy Harvin back healthy for an entire season (which might be terrifying for opposing teams). Marshawn Lynch will continue to be a beast and really there's no reason to think that Russell Wilson will not continue to improve. To put it simply, this team should be everyone's Superbowl favorites, not Denver. I have them at 13-3 to end the season, with the 1 seed in the NFC and again NFC West champions.
I know a lot of people are down on the 49ers this season but i'm not one of them. I think Jim Harbaugh will distill a sense of purpose in this team and motivate them into a playoff spot. Collin Kaepernick will just continue to get better and they will always be able to run the ball on offense. Defensively I think they will step back a tad, but not enough to hurt them severally at the end of the day. I have them at 9-7 just sneaking into the playoffs as the 6 seed.
Arizona just doesn't have the offensive line play nor the playmakers on offense outside of Larry Fitzgerald to really contend in this division for me. Also, no one can honestly say that they trust Carson Palmer in big moments right? Ok, just making sure. As for the Rams, I feel like they have a very solid team but just simply lack a competent starting quarterback (and thats even before Sam Bradford got hurt). It's worth noting though that they might just have the best defensive line in all of football with Quinn and Long anchoring the squad. There's hope Rams fans, you just need a quarterback.
Ok, so to recap heres how I think things will shape out in the Regular season:
New England 13-3 San Diego 11-5
Denver 12-4 Miami 9-7
Seattle 13-3 Chicago 10-6
New Orleans 12-4 San Francisco 9-7
New England 31 - Denver 28
Seattle 24 - New Orleans 13
New England 17 - Seattle 28
We will have a repeat. Seattle is just clearly in my eyes on another level then the other teams currently. They will have to work for it and I don't think we will see another blowout the likes of last season's Superbowl. Football is back and let the games begin! Thanks for reading.