NFL exec: Most of our players are good guys

December 1, 2008

The NFL is getting a lot of gruff over the fact that some of its players have been taking the “bad boy” persona a wee bit too far. But the league says that most of its players know that violence belongs on the field; not at home, in bars or, say, crossing state lines.

Eric Grubman, the NFL’s top business executive, declined to comment on the incident involving New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress — who shot himself this past weekend.

But Grubman told the Reuters Media Summit that most of the league’s other players behave themselves.

Bad behavior hurts all of us. The fans don’t like it, our sponsors don’t like it, and you know what? The players don’t like it. The vast majority of players are hard working.
We hear about a few players a week, out of 1,600 players, many of them have been out of college a couple of years. To have so few incidents out of the total is really astonishing.

Of course, his “so few” is “so many” to others, particularly bloggers. One site counts the number of days since an NFL player has been arrested. Today, in light of Burress, it’s set at Zero.

I don’t want to comment on that case, because I don’t know what the facts are and I’m not the commissioner, but our policy in regard to firearms and other things are abundantly clear, and every player’s responsibility to adhere to those policies. Yeah these things are bad, but I would really emphasize that it’s a small minority of players (who get in trouble).

He added that the league avoids any real backlash from sponsors by quickly identifying and taking action against bad behavior.

I would say it’s the other way. Commisioner Goodell has gotten extraordinary kudos from sponsors from the fans and the media, from politicians for taking a strong consistant line and identifying where the boundaries are. The boundaries are not grey, (they are) very, very clear. He thinks it’s a vital part of the NFL to hold those boundaries.

For what its worth, here is NFL’s Gun Policy, and here is the part that might apply to Mr. Burress:

Discipline

If you violate this policy on guns and other weapons, you are subject to discipline, including suspension from playing. And if you violate a public law covering weapons, for example possession of an unlicensed firearm, you are not only subject to discipline, including suspension from playing, but also subject to criminal prosecution.

(Photos: Top: Eric Grubman; Bottom: Plaxico Burress, Reuters)

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