Hitting your child.
Leaving a cheap tip.
What do all three of these acts have in common? On the surface, the answer is perhaps nothing at all. Being stingy at a restaurant pales in comparison to domestic violence or child abuse. But three of the NFL's top running backs have made news in the last week for actions off the field that bring to mind a simple premise put forth by George Orwell in "1984": Big Brother is always watching.
Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and LeSean McCoy, on the surface, are as human as anyone. We're all prone to making wrong decisions at any given point. However, Rice, Peterson and McCoy are among the most marketable entities in a major company. So rightly or wrongly, their every move on and off the field will be scrutinized.
In February, Ray Rice and his then fiancee Janay had what can lightly be deemed a difference of opinion on some matter while in an Atlantic City casino. Ray and Janay then went into an elevator and the rest is history...recorded history. In a day and age where cameras are everywhere, Rice didn't realize that an act he thought was going to be just between two people would be available for public consumption. He also didn't realize said act would cost him his job not just with the Baltimore Ravens but with the NFL as well.
In May, Adrian Peterson was spending time with his children in his native Texas. While playing a motorcycle racing video game Peterson's 4-year-old son ran his sibling off the road. Said sibling told his father to which Peterson grabbed a tree branch and, to use the running back's words, proceeding to give his son a "whooping". He later went on to inform the child's mother that he felt bad about said "whooping" saying he would "save the whooping for needed memories" in the future. The memories from said "whooping" were so unforgettable that Child Protective Services found out late this week and Peterson was indicted, sent to jail and released on $15,000 bail. What Peterson thought was merely a private matter became more public than he could ever imagine.
Last week, LeSean McCoy was dining at a Philadelphia restaurant. The star running back was enjoying the company of others and racked up a tab of over $60. McCoy, who stands to make nearly $10 million this season, left a tip of 20 cents citing that he tips based on service. He considered his two dimes "a statement" and went on to say, "That's why I left my card, so they could see my name." McCoy's name wouldn't just be left in the minds of restaurant personnel but in the minds of many as the owner of the establishment posted the receipt for all to see. Local and national media ran with the story and the rest is history...recorded history.
Rice's actions cost him his job, a job which he is currently fighting for by filing an appeal with the NFL.
Peterson's actions cost him his week 2 start against New England. On Monday, the Vikings announced Peterson will practice with all intentions to start Sunday against New Orleans.
McCoy's actions merely served as fodder for a long week leading up to Monday's game versus Indianapolis.
Ultimately each of these stories should serve as a cautionary tale to all NFL players. Whether it's something as innocent as a "shady" tip or as significant as domestic abuse, Big Brother is always watching, and your conduct off the field is every bit as important as your conduct on the field.