Players Need to Take Stock of Their Own Actions

In the light of this morning's announcement that kicker Lawrence Tynes was arrested and charged with felony and misdemeanor assault charges and the recent arrests of defensive tackle Junior Siavii and starting safety Greg Wesley for disorderly conduct, one could only assume that some on this team are not thinking about the team at all.

It's very easy for me to be critical of these players and their off-the-field incidents. Standing behind this PC is not like standing behind Junior Siavii, Greg Wesley or Lawrence Tynes. Though I'd like to be in their shoes playing the game, I would not want to be facing their respective charges from prosecutors in two separate states.

Still, there is little excuse for any of the incidents that occurred in River Falls or Minnesota. Each of these players, and those who have proceeded with this kind of behavior in the past, understand that they are put on a pedestal by fans. They are also in the spotlight because they can kick the ball through the uprights or tackle a quarterback behind the line of scrimmage or intercept a pass. Outside of that, they each could have done some ordinary job with ordinary expectations like the majority of the population who enjoy, support and love the Kansas City Chiefs. But they didn't, and they don't. They are members of a football team where camaraderie and respect and performance on the field are the true measuring stick for their talents and actions--not police blotters, fingerprints and public embarrassments.

In the case of Siavii, it's clear by police reports that he had been drinking. Not a crime or a felony unless you get behind a wheel of a car or you hit someone. Wesley was probably in the wrong place trying to make the situation better when, in fact, he lost his cool and had to be restrained by mace.

Tynes was walking out of a bar in River Falls and someone probably made a comment that he didn't like and one thing led to another, landing a young man in the hospital with a broken nose. Regardless of who started the altercations, it's not acceptable behavior if you're a member of the Kansas City Chiefs football team. Honestly, it's not acceptable regardless of your team affiliation, even if you're an average Joe or Jane in a bar or the lobby of a hotel.

Kansas City is no stranger to these kinds of actions, but because this stuff happens in every NFL city this won't be a pity party about our great city. It should, however, be a lesson to those who idolize these players. They have to understand that role models are parents and teachers—not football players or any athlete whose job it is to entertain the sports viewing public.

The players involved in these incidents will have to live with any consequences they might receive from the local prosecutors, those levied by the team and, even worse, the ones that the NFL could lay upon them if they are convicted.

The NFL frowns upon off-the-field incidents that result in police reports, so each player could be subject to fines and game suspensions. The Chiefs for their part must discipline these players either with their own fines or by releasing them outright from the team. Now is the latter fair? Probably not, but at some point the distractions will hinder the team's goals for 2005. In case these three players have forgotten why they go through training camp and why they should stay away from public situations that could embarrass themselves by landing them in jail, let me remind them. They are here on this team to win the Super Bowl!

Instead, they've taken it upon themselves to act in a manner that destroys that end goal. Even worse, it hinders the development of a player like Derrick Johnson or a Craphonso Thorpe or any other young players fighting for an NFL job with the Chiefs. These three Kansas City football players have everything to lose, and they're jeopardizing it by getting into scuffles with police and bar patrons.

I don't know about you, but I'd love to play NFL football for a living. I'd give up everything but my family to put on those shoulder pads and play the game that I have worshiped since I was a kid. Throw in the fact that I'd get the opportunity to play for the Kansas City Chiefs and you're talking about heaven on earth.

I know the NFL has changed, and winning supersedes everything. We need not look any further than Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens to be slapped in the face with the reality that for some the game has become more about the money and being paid the highest at your particular position. What happened to playing the game for the love of it and the chance to win championships with your teammates by your side? Not to mention playing for the fans that dish out cold, hard cash to attend games, pay for concessions, pay for parking, buy merchandise and support team sponsors all because they love the Kansas City Chiefs and watching pro football in this great city.

It's at times like these that I long for the days when the neighborhood kids played football in the backyard from the time the sun came up in the morning until our parents screamed at us to get in the house late into the evening hours. Maybe if Greg Wesley, Junior Siavii and Lawrence Tynes thought about those days a little more often, just maybe we'd be talking more about the game on the field than the one they're playing on the street.

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