Trickle down effect: Do athletes on all levels believe they get a 'free pass'

11/07/14 by Matthew S. Vandriak

Well we've already seen the barrage of off the field issues that portrayed the NFL as a league that accepts domestic violence and other ridiculousness by its players. Remember, Ray Rice was originally given a 2 game suspension before the "elevator video" surfaced. We've already seen the embarrassment of off field nonsense that has shown up in Division I college (here's looking at you Jameis Winston). But now players bad behavior has reared its head on another level, this time at Division II California University of Pennsylvania.
Last week, Six members of the Cal U football team attacked and beat up a 30 year old man outside of an establishment near the university. Not just beat him, but beat him so bad the man sustained severe brain trauma. The incident started when the victim, tried to intervene in an argument between one of the players and his girlfriend.
OK, first of all I doubt the argument between the player and the woman was about who's going to win The Voice this season. It doesn't matter if you play football or if sweep up at the stadium after games. If you're any kind of a man, even if she's wrong, you just walk away from a potential altercation with a woman. Secondly, I don't care how tough you think playing football makes you. If six "men" beat up one, all six of you are cowards. If the player arguing with the woman thought she was out of line and if her boyfriend did get aggressive while intervening, the player involved needs to man up and do it himself if he wants to fight. Having 5 of your football buddies jump someone makes you and your boys cowards. Period.

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The worse part of this is after beating this man unconscious, the six players left chanting "football strong". In response to the incident, California University administration decided they would forfeit last weekend's game. But also decided to resume play this week. So the punishment for this is the entire football program is punished for this act of violence by a few players. Unfortunately though, off the field problems seem to be a common theme at Cal U. 26 players on the teams roster have been in trouble with the law. Wait, what??? 26 players have been in trouble with the law? Umm, Houston (or California, PA)....we have a problem!
How is this acceptable? Why are these players at this university? First of all, California University is a learning institution. This isn't a place where football or any kind of athletics fuels the university. ESPN isn't doing "College Gameday" on campus here. This is a place where students should be coming to get an education first and play sports second. I wonder what the combined GPA is of the 26 players who have had brushes with the law? How many of these players have "undeclared" majors? If they have a low GPA and are majoring in football, why is this being accepted here? By allowing this to happen and accepting this kind of behavior, Cal U is pretty much saying we don't care if you're a criminal, as long as you can play football, you can come here.
As for the players who have been involved in these off the field incidents. You are playing football at a Division II school for a reason. Either because you're not good enough to play at a Division-I school, or because you're too dumb to get into one. Playing football at California University of Pennsylvania doesn't give you some kind of athlete envy or star status. You're playing D-II football! Be happy if you're on scholarship that you're getting the opportunity to have a free or partially paid college education. But obviously since 26 players can get in trouble with the law and still play football, the culture at Cal U is that athletics is bigger than being a student and a decent citizen.
And unfortunately, that's a trickle down effect starting with the NFL and working it's way down. As long as you can get it done on the field, it doesn't matter what you do off of it. And that's a sad reflection on our society today.

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