The NFL has an image problem, and that's a shame because the vast majority of NFL players are upstanding citizens, many of which give back to their communities. Still, the arrest of Colts safety Joe Lefeged early yesterday on gun charges highlights a major problem in the NFL.
ESPN reported yesterday that Lefeged and others in a Chevy Camaro fled their vehicle after being stopped in Washington D.C. A gun was found that belonged to Lefeged in the vehicle, which he owned legally, but he does not have a license to carry the weapon in the nation's capital. Officers reportedly smelled marijuana in the vehicle, presumably the reason the passengers fled, and alcohol was also found in the vehicle.
The overt issue that most will latch on to is that this is the latest in a continuing trend of NFL players being arrested on weapon charges, or in some cases, violent charges. Although this wasn't a violent altercation, when a gun, marijuana and alcohol are combined, you have the makings for a dangerous situation.
The underlying issue is NFL players simply getting caught up in the wealth that the game of football brings them. It's the reason that it's so important for players to take the rookie symposium seriously, and it's why the NFL needs a way to reach players that get caught up with the wrong crowd.
Of all the work environments in the United States, professional sports, especially in the NFL, provide some of the most diverse work conditions that exist. Some players are extremely religious, never even considering alcohol or drugs, while others party every chance they get. The issue here isn't that players like to have fun, the issue is that many don't seem to know how to have fun in a responsible way.
The issued a statement regarding Joe Lefeged, saying, "We are aware of the reports regarding Joe Lefeged in Washington, D.C. At this time, we will have no further comment on the pending matter until we gain more information."
Don't be surprised if the Colts cut ties with Lefeged in the coming week.