Many professional athletes are constantly under the microscope in terms of both their professional and personal lives. The limelight and constant attention is often too much for some stars to handle, and they choose to make poor decisions and find themselves stealing news headlines across the nation. Here are a few NFL players who I believe deserve to have their shot at redemption and a few who I believe are undeserving of a second chance.
- Richie Incognito: Signed by the Buffalo Bills to a one-year deal, this man is getting a chance in the NFL to play as an offensive guard again. While playing for the Miami Dolphins, he was wrapped up in allegations that accused Richie of bullying teammate Jonathan Martin. He was found guilty of the allegations, and was suspended for eight games in 2013 by the Miami Dolphins. He remained out of football for the 2014 season and attracted some interests but ultimately signed with no team. In my opinion, Richie deserves this second chance because the NFL promotes a culture of hazing similar to what Richie was found guilty of, so I don’t think that the punishment fit the crime for his scenario. For example, Buffalo Bills center Eric Wood had to pay for dessert trays as a rookie, other NFL players have been tied to the goalpost before, and various forms of other rookie hazing have been reported by national media outlets. Because he has hopefully learned from his first mistakes and because so many others were not punished for similar crimes, I think Incognito deserves another shot..
Verdict: He deserves a second chance with the Buffalo Bills
- Adrian Peterson: After disciplining his 4-year-old son with a tree branch, Peterson got in some serious trouble and was suspended for the remainder of the NFL season. The public reaction toward this incident was mixed, but, there was general support for a suspension of the Vikings star. I don’t think the season-long suspension was warranted based on a few factors. First of all, Adrian grew up in a different place than the people that are criticizing him did. Where he grew up, corporal punishment was administered regularly and it had happened to Peterson himself as a child. Adrian Peterson grew up in a culture that promoted this idea and he was simply following the way that he was raised. While I do agree that a suspension should have been in place for hitting a 4-year-old, I think that a two-game suspension would have sent enough of a message that Adrian should not have to do it again. Adrian Peterson just had his trial with the NFLPA and is expected to be reinstated soon, as he should be.
Verdict: He deserves a second chance.
- Josh Gordon: This star receiver on the Browns has had so many second chances it’s ridiculous. The first three times he was suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy and he was able to get off with suspensions of two, four and eight games. Now he is likely to be suspended for one year for testing positive for alcohol in a recent drug test. This guy deserves to be suspended. He’s already been given second and third chances and he has blown those opportunities. To me, that’s a sign that you can’t trust someone who is supposed to be considered a professional, and Josh Gordon has proven that he is a man who cannot follow the rules.
Verdict: He’s had enough chances, guilty
- Greg Hardy: This defensive end for the Carolina Panthers has been in trouble for domestic violence problems. Allegations detail that Hardy flushed his girlfriend’s necklace down a toilet and that he threatened to kill her. Hardy also reportedly slammed the toilet seat down on her arm repeatedly. This kind of behavior is simply not acceptable in today’s world, and no team should be willing to sign Greg Hardy after what he did. To me, he represents himself as a maniac because of these allegations.
Verdict: This problem is too serious to ignore, no NFL team should sign him.
Photo Credit: Joe Bielawa – Wikipedia.org