College football season is over. Watching college games each week is one of my favorite things to do.
This year my team, the Crimson Tide, did not get to make a trip to the College Football Playoffs. But that’s ok, there is always next year.
Clemson and LSU ended up with the coveted spots in this year’s game.
Even though I spent 20 years in South Carolina, I could not cheer for Clemson. I even put up with my husband and my brother with their Clemson gear.
The game went just the way I wanted with LSU handing Clemson a big loss!
With every victory in life and sports, there is always someone who finds a way to throw some unwanted drama and disrespect into the mix.
The drama this time was provided by NFL wide receiver, Odell Beckham, Jr.
He is a former LSU player and was on hand to watch the team win. Instead of offering congrats to the players, he chose to hand out cash, which is a clear violation of NCAA rules forbidding athletes from accepting money to play.
At first, the team said the money wasn’t real, but LSU quarterback, Joe Burrow quickly put that notion to rest with confirmation that the money was indeed real.
Once the school learned of the money incident, they contacted the NCAA and the SEC to address the situation.
Recent reports suggest LSU is not expected to face significant NCAA penalties. One former NCAA enforcement official complained that the incident was overly criticized. Despite the fact it could be a rules violation, the official claimed it would unlikely affect any player’s eligibility because the money went to players who were leaving. It isn’t clear how he made that determination.
He went on to say any underclassman who got money will be required to repay it. Good luck with that.
The cash incident is irrelevant for the boys who are headed to the big bad NFL.
Beckham later joined the team in the locker room where a security guard was speaking to the LSU players caught violating the Superdome’s no-smoking policy. Beckham walked up behind the officer and allegedly struck him on the backside.
The guard filed a complaint and New Orleans police issued an arrest warrant for Beckham for misdemeanor civil battery.
News of the warrant prompted an intense backlash for the guard on social media. The New Orleans prosecutor urged Beckham to turn himself in so the police can “dispose of the silly matter.”
Any complaint of inappropriate contact with any part of the body, whether it is a male are female should be taken seriously and certainly one with video evidence.
On Saturday, the officer dropped his complaint and said he won’t pursue charges.
Football is a violent sport. Its players use their bodies to inflict pain and injury to opposing team members. Those who play the game are rewarded with large contracts and envious fans.
Domestic violence and related assault incidents rank among the NFL’s biggest off-the field problems. The only other crime category with large numbers of arrests involving NFL players is DUI.
After the NFL league was sharply criticized for being inconsistent with its punishment for players, it implemented a policy of a six-game suspension for players found to have committed abusive acts against a spouse or partner. The policy was implemented following a public outcry when an NFL player was given only a two-game suspension after a video surfaced of him knocking a woman unconscious.
Setting a policy and enforcing it appears to be a tough task for NFL officials.
Records show that in most cases the penalty has been less than the six-game suspension without pay. The average number of weeks is three. This discrepancy is in part due to the exception clause that allows “consideration given to mitigating factors” regarding assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault. In one case, the wife was named as a mitigating factor and the suspension reduced to one game.
Last year there was renewed debate about charging players with criminal assault for perceived deliberate criminal actions on the field. This occurred after a player ripped off the helmet of an opposing player and hit him in the head with it.
The NFL has struggled to balance justice and fairness and has failed to hold the game, itself and its players accountable for their actions.
Players actively battling domestic violence and sexual assault charges continue to be drafted every year.
The failure to secure charges for the incident in the LSU locker room is just another example of players getting a free pass for bad behavior.