At times, especially over the past month, some have expressed their concern that the National Football League has a "thug" problem. With former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez being charged with the murder of his friend, Odin Loyd, it doesn't help those who oppose that subject. One of the key trials of the year, and a trip out to a nightclub hurt it even more in one weekend.
We were guaranteed a wide variety of responses to the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. Whether the neighborhood watch captain was guilty or not guilty in the killing of Trayvon Martin, the reaction would be large and some would be angry or jubilant about the verdict.
Zimmerman was found not guilty by the jury, and the twiterverse blew up. Professional athletes, most of whom are African American, displayed their anger via tweets. While everyone has the right to express their opinion and while you may not fully agree, many did it in a respectable way. Some others took it a step too far. Thus creating the bad "thug" image that a league like the NFL wants to avoid.
Two pro football players who caught the attention of their followers and others were Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz and Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White.
Cruz's tweet, much like the other tweets that expressed disgust with the verdict, were directed at Zimmerman. Cruz deleted the tweet, but this is the internet, Victor. You can't salsa dance your way out of this one.
White decided to target not Zimmerman, but the jury that acquitted him.
Nobody likes jury duty. We all cringe when we get the summons and come up with excuses to get out of it. So you know it was not easy for these six women to reach a unanimous verdict with the world watching. So, the dumbest, most idiotic tweet goes to Roddy White.
Unlike Cruz, White stood by his tweet Saturday night. Of course, early Sunday, he tweeted an apology. Probably due to the backlash from social media and a possible call from the Falcons or his agent. Here's the generic apology tweet/statement we see too much of. The damage was already done, and sleeping on it didn't help.
So, just two of the many athletes who tweeted about the verdict and there were many more dumb "thug" tweets. Check out Marcus Vick, Michael's brother, and his tweets. You know, the one who has pulled a gun out in public and had one game in the NFL with the Dolphins? If I'm Michael, I'm not too happy with my little brother. Especially since Marcus has decided to use his brothers dog fighting history when tweeting about the trial.
Stepping away from the Zimmerman tweets, the Pouncey brothers, Maurkice and Mike, were out wearing "Free Hernandez" hats out at a club this weekend.
The Pouncey's are former teammates of Hernandez's back at Florida. From what we have learned, Aaron might have been involved in a shooting down there, at a club and Maurkice was with him.
Supporting your old teammate who probably killed a guy "executioner style?" Thug life. For older brother Maurkice, Steelers Nation may see him as the piece that rejuvenates a depleted offensive line in Pittsburgh, but backing a man who is possibly behind multiple murders creates more concerns for Pittsburgh.
By the way, the "Steeler Way," much like Hernandez and the "Patriot Way" are myths, if not big jokes. That goes for the other 30 teams in the league. Don't worry. The Steelers will talk to Maurkice, because that always works.
We don't want to believe that the "thug mentality" is a real problem in pro sports like football. But a lack of judgement and hot heads have lead many more to believe that the league has a problem. When players are telling six women to go kill themselves and that "the hood" will track Zimmerman down and kill him doesn't help. The Pouncey brothers topped it off with an asinine photo op wearing those stupid hats supporting Hernandez, a thug with a record to back up the argument.
The rookie symposiums will continue to encourage these young men, a good number of them who don't come from fortunate backgrounds, who have worked hard to make it to the NFL, to not blow their money on ten luxury cars and three mansions. It's become obvious that the Hernandez murder investigation and how some athletes conducted themselves on Twitter might be up for discussion next summer.
We always hear that the NFL is a business. People who are employed by companies have lost their jobs over tweets like the ones Cruz and White sent out. Since players are considered "employees," perhaps we add social media practices to the syllabus at next years symposium along with staying away from the wrong crowds. It beats spending the rest of your life behind bars or constantly apologizing over something you tweeted out of anger.