I may have stumbled across the most compelling reason yet to end the current labor dispute between NFL players and owners.
Since the lockout began in mid-March, no fewer than 10 players have been arrested for various criminal offenses ranging from the trivial (speeding) to the felonious (aggravated assault with a deadly weapon).
Hey, with team names like the Buccaneers and Vikings, maybe you can’t fault these guys for engaging in some degree of marauding — or brandishing the occasional firearm.
But who knew a group of coddled, unsupervised, directionless millionaires (outside of Mel Gibson or Lindsay Lohan) could cause such mayhem?
Still, it may be unfair to paint all offenders with a broad prison-orange brushstroke.
For example: On April 4, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel was arrested for felony theft when he allegedly removed bottles of alcohol from an Indiana riverboat casino. The NFL veteran called it an “unfortunate misunderstanding,” which could only mean he mistook the Belterra Casino & Resort for his parents’ liquor cabinet. Or maybe he thought “women and children first” should extend to top-shelf single-malt scotch?
Then there was Louis Murphy, the Oakland Raiders’ wide receiver who was arrested April 3 for possession of a drug without a prescription. Turns out the drug was Viagra, and police said Murphy told them he removed the label “because he did not want his girlfriend to know he had a prescription for it.”
Way to keep it quiet, Louis.
Finally, there’s Johnny Jolly of the Green Bay Packers. The defensive end was suspended all of last season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. But the real kicker came March 25, when Jolly was arrested for possession of a controlled substance (600 grams of codeine) with intent to distribute.
At least he was trying to earn a living.
Which brings us to this: I’d like to make an open plea to NFL owners and players to move whatever mountains stand in the way of an acceptable collective bargaining agreement. And do it soon — not just for yourselves, or for the fans who love and support you, but for the good men and women of law enforcement who have more important matters to address … like Miss Lohan, who I hear will be back on the streets in a few short months.