The Czar’s often enigmatic father has been able to explain NFL behavior off-the-field for a long time, and there was no point in us even talking to him about the Ray Rice situation. We already know what he will tell us, and it will be something like this.
The NFL is unique among professional sports due to the emphasis on recruitment at an early age. The NBA is not too far behind them, but the NBA is more stringent in managing the off-court antics of its players. While the NBA has its share of scandals, generally the NBA does a very strong job of providing mentoring and guidance of its newest players behind the scenes. This isn’t widely known, but the NBA even provides directions on how its players will dress and represent the NBA when attending off-court events or charity functions.
The NFL does not. And what happens is very simple: a boy shows some aptitude for football in grade school or junior high. In time, high schools start recruiting the very best. All your high school expenses can be compensated, the boys are told, particularly if your parents are underfunded. The boys go through high school with the school administration ensuring they can concentrate on their football.
But Czar, you say, although really this is his father’s excellent theory, they never did this for my kids. Noonly for the very best, like the 0.0001% who make it to the NFL.
In high school, the colleges come courting. Now, of course, the colleges expect the young men to attend class and achieve a genuine major. But as long as they keep producing in football, they will pay little or no tuition money. Or room and board, or book costs, or lab fees. All they have to do is keep good grades going and play unearthly football.
As you would expect, this takes time. The very best are traveling from state to state, going from one game to another. When off the bus, they are practicing. When on the bus, they are supposed to be studying for exams. The very best players will confess that when they were in college, they really didn’t have as much of a social life as some of the guys on the team. Yeah, there were partiers, but they usually don’t get sent up to the NFL. Everything else was taken care of by the school.
So they get drafted by the NFL. Signing bonuses, first-class flights, agents. A nice team check. You’re on the team!
And then that’s it for the typical NFL player. Now that you get a paycheck, you’re on your own. You need to find a place to live, a way to manage your money, and you even have time to have a social life.
The problem of course is that for many NFL players, you have absolutely no experience doing this. You have more time than you ever had, more money than you could have imagined, and no social skills whatsoever. His entire social life has been with the team, on the bus, in the locker room, or taking exams to keep up the grades.
The average NFL player has the personality and maturity of that 13-year-old that the high schools came talking to.
A large amount of junior high kids are very mature, well-balanced, and sensible. A lot are not: they get rowdy, have no clue how to interact with peopleespecially femalesand if given a pile of cash and a new car would buy a lot of blow and wrap the car around a telephone pole. Many are dorks. A lot are punks. Some need a good smack and even need to be scared straight. Some are even cruel.
And that’s your basic NFL player roster. A bunch of compensated, muscular, fast, and privileged adolescents. And further like adolescents, nearly all of them grow out of it and become nice, sensible, enjoyable people. Some do not.
Some remain cruel. And these guys make the news, and we wonder how it happens.
Well, here’s how it happens.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.