Stupid move!

Nick Barnett has no good reason for nightclub incident

Nick Barnett's arrest last week, a day before Brett Favre's charity softball game certainly makes me wonder if NFL players really wear helmets when they play. Their actions off the field suggest their noggins have been kicked more than a football during punting practice.

After what has happened to Pacman Jones for the past two years, and what happens monthly with the Cincinnati Bengals, why in the name of Vince Lombardi would Barnett put himself in the position he found himself in?

Barnett was arrested for allegedly pushing a woman to the ground. I wasn't there, don't know what led to this, but you know how it is in clubs with multi-million dollar players. People develop "liquid" courage and begin talking smack. The player, at first, doesn't do much, but then can't help himself and goes "Charles Barkley" on the person. (Barkley once threw a person through a window at a bar during his playing days).

Now we have a problem.

Barnett just signed a $35 million extension in April, and he's Nick "freaking" Barnett! This is Wisconsin, where every person with a pulse knows every Packer, front and back. There's nothing Barnett can do, but get in trouble, so walk away. It's the only answer.

But Barnett, a fiery competitior on the field, forgets he's not on the field and treats a woman like she's Thomas Jones.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy talked with his team about being the spotlight and how to handle it.

"This is part of the lifestyle of being an NFL player, and you've got to be smart out there," McCarthy said. "First of all, you need to avoid that type of environment, and when you're in that type of situation, you need to diffuse it. We'll continue to talk about those things with our football team."

Barnett's actions are inexcusable. He's a Packer in Wisconsin. You have to watch yourself when in public. In an interview with the Wisconsin State Journal, quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was at the same nightclub as Barnett, said he drives when he goes out, mainly because it prevents him from drinking a lot. He knows he's driving and can't over-indulge.

Furthermore, Rodgers said he knows his position. He's the heir apparent to Favre and a legal incident like this can only go bad. He's smart and realizes the life he's in he can't be dumb and get away with it.

Too bad there aren't more players like Rodgers, who think before they drink.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has made it clear — off-field legal problems will not be tolerated in the NFL — no exceptions. Yet, Pacman and the Bengals continually show their stupidity by getting in trouble. So does Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick and Chicago's Tank Johnson.

With the amount of exposure these players have gotten, how can Barnett allow this to occur? All you have to do is watch TV or read a newspaper, almost daily, and there's an NFL player in trouble. There's plenty of examples as to why it's not good to get into trouble.

You're making millions of dollars, your future is secure, but you can't exercise proper judgment when in a club with a few over-served patrons? Barnett and others can't reason with me in these situations.

They are fortunate to have the income they have. What would they do on an average person's salary, working 9 to 5?

Goodell is serious about erasing the troublemeakers in the NFL, and nobody gets a free pass. The Packers also are on the same page.

"Obviously, we're not looking for our players or any employee of the Green Bay Packers to be involved in those types of situations," McCarthy said.

No team is, but once players leave the team headquarters, they're on their own. Unfortunately, some have no idea how to behave like a responsible adult. Barnett is now in that group.

Doug Ritchay

Doug Ritchay is a frequent contributor to and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at

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