Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Money, the Catalyst of Trouble?

There is a Billboard Top 100 song from 1997 that sums up the title of this article. “Mo Money Mo Problems” preformed by The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy/Puffy/Puff/P. Diddy/Diddy/Sean Combs and Mase is a delightful Hip Hop song that stresses a problem that is a reoccurring theme in major league sports today. The more money these players receive, the more likely they will get into some sort of trouble. By no means am I saying that the money itself is the problem. There are plenty of factors that contribute to these problems, but having what would seem to the average American as an unlimited supply of cash some athletes lose their heads.

What recently sparked the idea behind this article was the Aaron Hernandez controversy. Assuming that sports fans read this I won’t explain the whole situation, but the story is that Hernandez is involved somehow in the murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. Hernandez has had a past ,which effected his draft stock in the 2010, and may now effect his whole life. If it comes to light that Hernandez is involved it’s likely his career is over. This is a pretty extreme case in terms of problems occurring in a major league sport, but there was also the Mike Vick dog fighting case in 2007 and the murder of Titans quarterback Steve McNair in 2009. Cases of DUI, Illegal Substance use (drugs), assault, and more are always in the news for sports. It’s not a fact that money has an involvement in these cases, but it is easily a starting point for an altercation. 

I use the NFL as my main example because it is more of my area of expertise, but these instances happen in all sports. It also seems to be that legally the NFL is in the news more. Not only do the paychecks play a role in the legal issues, but the violent nature of the game must as well. If we look at some of these instances money isn’t the actual problem, the money tends to be the catalyst to the problem. In the case of Mike Vick the money he had from his playing career at that point funded the dog fighting scandal sparking the initial problem. In the murder-suicide of Steve McNair is was concluded that his girlfriend that shot him was was in a bad financial situation along with McNair supposedly being in another relationship as well. Money wasn’t the exact reason for the murder of Steve McNair, but it played a factor. There are always exceptions to the theory. A perfect example was the O.J. Simpson case. Probably one of the most notorious criminal cases in American history, Simpson was on trial for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman. This was by no means about money, but some say Simpson’s money and superstar status got him off the hook. 

Are there other factors to these legal matters that these players get into? Sure, but without the money these athletes are making a lot of these problems wouldn’t be occurring. Without the money these players would have a lower chance of being able to purchase illegal guns, drugs, sports cars, and anything else that could enhance the chance of them getting into trouble. This isn’t a case to say these athletes shouldn’t be getting this money, but a case for groups like the NFLPA to assume the responsibility to educate and prepare these kids coming out of college and veterans down the road how to use their earnings for logical and legal activities. 


Zachary Cintron is a sophomore in Drexel's Sport Management program with a minor in Music Theory and Composition.  Zach also writes for his personal blog, Sports and Music Weekly. You can follow Zach on Twitter at @cintronz.

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