The NFL has staggered through a bad couple of weeks — maybe worse than we have seen in a long time — and it’s not about underachieving players, cheap shot penalties, the bounty club, suspensions, fines or coaches getting fired.
What we have seen happen in the league is horrific:
In Philadelphia, Eagles head coach Andy Reid will likely lose his job. Reid’s life has been bared naked for everyone to see and he is forever remembered now not just for the collapse of the franchise he controlled, but for the death of his drug-troubled son.
Now we find out Reid willed owner Jeffrey Loria to add his son to the staff’s weight training program.
Garrett brought heroin, steroids, testosterone, syringes, needles and vials onto that campus and overdosed. It is a horrid family issue, with Reid now being castigated that he cared more about his football family than his own son.
In Dallas, the drunk driving death of young linebacker Jerry Brown took on even stranger, sadder dimensions. Teammate and close friend Josh Brent, drunk, flipped his luxury car, killing the fellow Cowboy player.
Now it’s been reported a woman at the scene of the crash had to plead with Brent to pull his friend from the burning car.
A blood alcohol level of .18 and insinuations Brent had 21 shots of liquor in the hours before he drove home will forever stain the man.
In Kansas City it gets worse, with more revelations about the murder-suicide of Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher.
The final police report showed Belcher, whose fiancée had a baby with the player just three months ago, was a party animal, staying out all night.
Text messages obtained by police found Belcher had a hidden mistress too and had texted he might have to kill Kassandra Perkins, because she was harassing him, spending all of his money and threatening to take the baby and leave.
Belcher shot Perkins 10 times in the neck, chest and stomach, kissed her, drove away, then killed himself in front of his coach and general manager in the parking lot at Arrowhead Stadium.
The trauma in the locker room won’t go away either, because half the team is upset anyone would want to honor Belcher,considering he was a murderer and a cheat.
Guess not everyone in the NFL is of the opinion being a drunk, a cheat, having a mistress, is okay in the player’s life code. Chiefs players demanded and got his locker sealed and closed.
The spillover of bad stuff in the NFL also spread to the NFL Media.
ESPN’s outspoken sports analyst Rob Parker enraged some with his racially-tinged commentary about Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Parker was suspended and excuse-makers quickly said it was one black critiquing another black. Why call out the hottest rookie quarterback in the NFL, asking whether he was “black or cornball black?”
Does it really mean anything that he is dating a beautiful blonde? Who cares if he is Republican? It is just Parker’s opinion that the Washington rookie is not “down with the cause,” or “not one of us.”
This NFL reporter seemed to running his mouth just to get noticed and now he is likely out of a job.
Yes, there are good story lines in the NFL this holiday season:
In the aftermath of the Connecticut massacre, Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz and teammates spent their off day in Newtown meeting with the families of the victims and going to the first group of funeral services for the 20 young kids who died.
And you cannot erase the pictures from your mind of the pre-game ceremonies around the league last weekend — Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning weeping; Bears linebacker Lance Briggs with head buried in his hands sobbing; Seahawks players reaching to the sky for strength; Giants players holding hands on the sidelines; and the unique meeting at the 50-yard line with Rams coach Jeff Fisher, the Vikings’ Leslie Frazier and the team captains in a prayer vigil.
Then, there was Chargers’ Antonio Gates and Antonio Garay taking kids on a “Shop with a Jock” Christmas spree. Chargers players were buying bikes for 250 disadvantatged youths for Christmas.
There are special people doing special things in the NFL.
It has been a terrible week to cover the NFL.
Maybe the Dallas-Kansas City-Philadelphia stories are just an example of the cross-section parts of society — money, power, violence, corruption and the end of life.
Whether it involves somebody standing in an NFL end zone or down some dark alley, it is part of our society. Some good, some bad.
Sadly, it is who we are and what part of America has become.