Many people eagerly watched the 2017 NFL Draft last month. It was great to view the selection process and the reaction of the athletes as their names were announced. What’s fascinating is that these young men are on the threshold of a life-changing opportunity. For many, the draft fulfills a lifelong dream, while others it affords them the ability to care for their families with those mega contracts. But then there are some that will fall through the cracks. The notoriety and lure of money becomes a tool for access to negative activity. Many of these young greats succumb to past street, gang and drug life that can hamper their livelihood in the big leagues.
Pete Rose, one of the most celebrated players in Major League Baseball history, chose to bet on baseball which resulted in a lifetime ban from the sport. A prolific hitter, Rose has repeatedly apologized for his choice and has begged for reconsideration to the MLB Commissioners Office. He obviously would be a shoe in for the Hall of Fame.
NBAplayer, Javarius Crittenton, who had a promising career in the league threw it all away in a gang-related incident when he shot and killed an innocent bystander one evening. He is currently serving a 23-year sentence.
Darryl Henly of the Los Angeles Rams, was arrested for cocaine trafficking and soliciting a ‘Murder for Hire’ contract. He attempted to pay a hitman to kill the judge who convicted him on the drug charge. He is serving a 41-year sentence with no possibility of parole.
The list goes on and on from individuals like Aaron Hernandez, Dave Meggett, and Rae Carruth; all professional athletes who had a bright and prosperous future ahead of them. They had the inability to recognize the opportunities afforded them and blew their careers on bad choices.
Agents also can have an impact on their client’s welfare. They should try and craft an environment that guides the player to shift away from those things or individuals that represent negative influences. Another area that should be looked at is how they handle themselves on and off the camera. The media can be brutal and knowing how to handle them is key. These players have free will to the choices they make—let’s hope the guidance is there to help them make the right ones.