In My Opinion: Was Cris Carter’s Comments Wrong?
The NFL Rookie Symposium is a time for NFL rookies to come in and listen to veterans about what to expect from the league. The veterans tell rookies what to expect on the field, how to handle the abundance of money they’re going to have, and how to avoid getting in trouble.
Last year at the 2014 NFL Rookie Symposium, Cris Carter said some very eye-opening words about what NFL rookies should expect when it comes to getting in trouble. Carter asked Teddy Bridgewater, a Miami native who at the time was a rookie, to stand up and be his example.
Carter: “This right here is Teddy Bridgewater, Inc. Now, I let my home boys know, ‘Y’all want to keep rolling like this, then I need to know who’s going to be the fall-guy. Who’s going to be driving?’ Because you are all not going to be doing the right stuff, so I need to teach you how to get around all this stuff, too. If you’re gonna have a crew, one of them fools gotta know, he’s got to go to jail. We’ll get him out.”
“Don’t you got a guy that would take care of you, and that would be a good deal?”
Due to the fact that Carter said these words he’s been dealing with a lot of scrutiny and backlash from the media. People are even calling for his job.
Now it’s easy to dismiss Carter’s words as foolish, which they are. It’s also easy to say that Carter’s words have a bit of wisdom. Carter wasn’t being an advocate for players to run along and commit as many crimes as they can, those words were never expressed from his voice. Instead, Carter shed light into the players who aren’t the “goody two-shoes, straight-laced, well-behaved, Victorian types, since he wasn’t that type either. He opened up a can of worms for people who aren’t committing non-violent crimes against other people.
Carter’s had a checkered history himself (we all do), being addicted to alcohol, heavy cocaine use, ecstasy, and marijuana. He failed drug tests regularly and almost lost his NFL career.
Since all of the rookies come from a different path in life, Carter had to speak a bit of knowledge to those who have checkered pasts like himself. Speaking words like this to someone who grew up in the suburbs, or from an affluent family where crime isn’t rampant is different than speaking it to someone from the inner-city where family members and friends, are likely to become prison bound, addicted to a substance, or dead.
What’s most important is that Carter made sure that the rookies understood that the profession that they are in is a business. Each of these athletes businesses is their bodies and to make sure that their business doesn’t go under, they need to make sure they don’t go to jail. If they go to jail then their friends, family, teammates, and fans all will have to suffer.
Now could Carter have said “Don’t do drugs. Don’t get drunk. Don’t do something reckless and ruin your career?” Yes. However, how many people say those same words and we still hear the same tragic story? It wasn’t a bad idea to give a bunch of rookies an alternative to the foolish people who aren’t going to listen to the aforementioned words. It’s like the saying even a broken clock is right two times a day.
Carter’s blunt honesty is the reason why he actually works for the Worldwide Leader In Sports, ESPN. His voice gets him in trouble ever so often because of the words that come out of his mouth, but should the words he said to the rookies also be a reason to view him differently?
Think of it like this. If you’re a millionaire and you had drugs inside of your car (stupid idea), would you want to go to jail? Or would you rather have a passenger that would take the blame and you could pay for his bond and make sure that you’re still successful.
The obvious answer is the scapegoat.
Then I think to myself….”Is that something my pastor would say?” Probably not.
He’d probably echo the same words I would tell a group of rookies, “You’re worth millions of dollars. Your parents are proud of you. Your fans love you. You’re going to become well-known and there will be a target on your back. Do you want to stay rich forever or ruin your business? Is the risk of getting in trouble, worth the reward of ruining your career?” That’s a question only each individual can answer.
Cris Carter was being honest. Was it the right words to say? Probably not. Is it the harsh truth that some NFL athletes need to hear? Yeah, sometimes it really is.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey.