The NFL and It’s Commitment to Excellence

(St. Louis – 5/2/10)Athletes today are held to a higher standard than just normal people. They are expected to act a certain way and to not actually live life freely. Every action is magnified and in some cases are blow out of proportion. The case we have at hand, is one that completely baffles me.

Michael Vick during a game against the Baltimo...
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Within the last few years, we’ve had stars from the NFL reprimanded, suspended, and in some cases even jailed for things they have done. We’ve had cornerbacks who decided to “make it rain” in gentlemen’s clubs, runningbacks who decided they wanted to “experience new highs”, wide receivers who have decided to shoot themselves or allegedly shoot others, and quarterbacks who have done everything from fund illegal dog fighting rings to wreck their motorcycles or even worse. Despite all of these offenses those who were involved in the activities mentioned above never once had their level of commitment examined.

Why  is this such a big deal? Because there are several teams who avoided Myron Rolle in the NFL Draft because they questioned his commitment to football. Not because he did anything that was against the law, but because he decided to take a year off and become a Rhodes Scholar. Rolle spent his past season in Oxford studying for a graduate degree in medical anthropology, graduated in 2 1/2 years from Florida State, where he played safety for three years. Then he chose to skip his senior year to take advantage of the Rhodes Scholarship, an honor that only 32 men and women garner every year.

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 29:  Safety Myron R...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

He was selected in the 6th round of the draft by the Tennessee Titans, so it’s not all bad but the bottom line is this: the NFL needs to check itself when they have teams question someone’s “commitment” because they do something that will improve them as an individual. In my opinion it is ridiculous that a team would even begin to say he isn’t committed. If he had taken the year off to do something ridiculous like explore a jungle in Africa, I’d say criticize him, but that wasn’t the case so, I don’t think it’s fair to start criticizing his level of commitment.

I suppose the only thing I can say at this point is welcome to the 21st century NFL, where your commitment to the game doesn’t get questioned if you fail multiple drug tests, drive drunk or rape a woman. But woe unto you if you have the audacity to graduate early from college and take a year off to improve yourself as an individual by pursing a Rhodes Scholarship. If anything, the NFL should praise him for it and make him an example of what they want their athletes to be. Well-rounded individuals.


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