Bad Boy Seahawks Learning From Hernandez Case
by Marco Benatoff
Jul 23, 2013 6:47 AM EDT
The Aaron Hernandez earthquake shook the NFL in the last days of June. The aftershock concerned each and every team in the league as they try to sway their players away from harmful, off-the-field antics.
As for the Seahawks' season gets closer to beginning, the hype around the team continues to grow but so does the suspicion that an off-the-field issue could harm the team in the long run.
The problem-recognition process has to start inside the locker room and continue away from the facilities. The league should learn from what happened in New England and take all the necessary precautions to prevent it from happening anywhere else. The NFL cannot allow this sport to be constantly filled with issues that don't concern the game on the field.
Robert Kraft pointed it out after the Hernandez arrest, saying: "I’ve been duped and the whole Patriots organization has been duped.”
Everyone in the Patriots' organization had noticed an improvement in Hernandez's behavior since he was drafted. He even donated $50,000 to the Myra Kraft Giving Back Fund after signing an extension in 2012. This serves to say that even if young players seem changed for the better, most of them will face difficult situations that could determine their future.
All NFL teams have team-bonding exercises and community-outreach projects. They are a great resource, but don’t show the whole picture in a player's life. Without putting each player to bed each night, the coaching staff and front office — and the players themselves — should be more involved in each other’s life off-the-field. A football team, like a brotherhood, should go far beyond just playing together. The bond the players and coaches have must be extended outside the locker room.
Many of the marquee Seahawk players have struggled with the law. The performance-enhancing drug scandal already affected five players since 2011 and others suffered public critiques over misdemeanors. Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch and John Moffitt have all been in the headlines in the past year because of something unrelated to football.
Too much has already been said about some of the Seattle players not too feel worried. Coach Pete Carroll’s carefree attitude has proven positive in the win-loss column. However, with the PED and misdemeanor charges piling up, he certainly should make a stance. A more open and honest communication has to take place between the coaching staff and the players. More coaches should participate in the off-the-field life of players, and they should know who the guys are hanging out with and demonstrate an open-door policy in difficult situations.
The new season is fast approaching. Now is the time for players and coaches to be around each other, learn from what happened and act responsibly.