Rex, you said I could respond to your most recent blog without pulling punches so I’m doing it. You’re a good guy, a great host, and I’m glad I had a chance to sit next to you at our staff dinner but the logic in your piece about Troy Smith’s question to Roger Goodell at the NFL Rookie Symposium is seriously flawed.
On our show, my brother and I hold athletes accountable all the time. This includes Pac Man Jones, Michael Vick, Ricky Williams, Tank Johnson, Josh Hancock and maniac animals like Chris Benoit.
Benoit, in particular, has me seething. I don’t want to hear about ‘roid rage anymore. I refuse to pin blame on his doctor. More air-time and ink has been spent discussing this guy’s "sad journey", his mental state and the "good" he did for that scam they call a sport than the the fact that he brutally murdered his wife and child. In other words why was O.J Simpson a cold-blooded murderer while Chris Benoit was "the final victim of a painful tragedy"?
(Sorry, the Benoit riff might be a bit off point but it’s been bothering me fo
Troy Smith is a young kid coming into an NFL environment where zero tolerance is now the law. Look at Tank Johnson. He’s been released by the Bears even though he blew UNDER the legal alcohol limit. Was that fair? Was it fair to circulate a story saying that Chris Henry had tested positive for drugs when that wasn’t the case? Is it fair to ban Ricky Williams for life because he uses a drug that pretty much everyone I know also uses?
Is Goodell taking things too far? I don’t believe he is. I think he’s trying to reinstill a positive image but I understand Smith’s question and I think it’s a fair one.
You claim in your blog that athletes get arrested at a higher rate than other people. Are you sure? Using your figures (and I’ve not checked the accuracy of this) 50 or so players have been arrested since 2006. If you include active roster and practice squad, there are over 1500 players in the NFL during any given season. To keep the math easy, let’s agree there are 50 arrests and 1500 players. That means only 3% of NFL players were arrested this past year. Are you positive that the arrest numbers for ALL males between the ages of 21-35 is any different? Have there been studies done?
Naturally, athletes are high profile targets and there’s a perception, fair or unfair, that today’s generation of athletes seem to have a sense of entitlement, as if the rules don’t necessarily apply. However, for every Pac Man Jones there are 10 LaDainian Tomlinsons or Jonathan Ogdens. All Smith really asked is that people be reminded that the NFL is much more about the "United Way" than it is about the gangsta way.
Further, before we can really call out the entire NFL, we need to look at the crimes committed. Mostly it’s been gun charges, drug charges, assaults (some proven, many unproven) and a lot of drunk driving.
You say this is above the norm for an occupation. I don’t know much about the accounting industry or the computer industry so I’ll stick to comedy.
I know comics who bring guns when they’re on the road for protection. Are they carrying them legally? I have no clue. Personally I’m against guns period but they’re out there. Assaults? Generally speaking, comics aren’t fighters and most of them are more likely to get punched by their girlfriend than to do the punching. However, the comedy industry (and the entertainment industry as a whole) probably leads the country in drug arrests, drunk driving arrests and soliciting hookers.
Hell, I got a DUI once. I’m not proud of it. I’m smarter now. But it happened. I wonder how many of our listeners, or even the WNST staff, have had their brushes with the law.
Maybe Troy Smith will do something stupid, get arrested and prove that he’s no different than a Pac Man Jones. Or maybe he won’t. Maybe he’s just a kid who wants to be treated as though being a part of the NFL is something he should be proud of. Maybe he doesn’t want to feel like a criminal just for being drafted.
I’m a comedian and, personally, I LOVE when these guys screw up and get in trouble. It’s good material. When they cross a line and do something that’s so despicable there’s no humor in it, I leave it alone (see Chris "the animal, child-killer murderer who I’m glad is dead" Benoit above). But I start with the belief that athletes are people first- no better and no worse. They deserve the same rights as the rest of us, including the right to ask a question. Troy Smith went to the NFL Rookie Symposium and asked a question. Let’s leave it there.
Thought? Comments? email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out Marc’s comedy at www.myspace.com/marcunger
DEFINITELY R RATED!