"I don't know what safe is."
November 19, 2008 11:14 AM   Subscribe

Culture Of Fear. An interesting look at the security concerns National Football League players harbour in the wake of the death of Sean Taylor, who was robbed and shot within his own home. Previously.

Other NFL players recently victimized include Darrent Williams, shot and killed while sitting in a limo, Javon Walker, beaten and robbed in Las Vegas, and Richard Collier, shot and paralyzed while waiting outside an apartment.
posted by The Card Cheat (4 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
When they return home to nations wracked by poverty, millionaire Major League Baseball players from Central America tend to move their entire families on private estates protected by hired militia in order to protect them from kidnappings and robberies. When they go out (rather than send servants) they travel with escorts that would put the Secret Service to shame.

Haves and have-nots, dragged further and further apart until something snaps.

In the sliding US economy, it's not hard to see how we get there from today, with your average 22 year old millionaire football player returning to his old neighborhood in the inner city. I worry for their grandmothers.
posted by rokusan at 11:26 AM on November 19, 2008

"Don't go where you're not known or where you're not wanted."

Excellent advice.
But I have no idea why players should have to have firearms to protect themselves. In part, because as one said, it makes you *feel* safe (to his credit he added that you have to use common sense).

But mostly because they’re athletes, not cops, not soldiers, not pistoleros. The skills on the field do not translate (I can speak with authority on this). Oh, it’s nice to be athletic, and have speed and muscle. But shooting is a whole different skill set. Hell, so’s fighting.

I think it’s a shame the NFL doesn’t have comprehensive security the way any other business has security for high profile individuals. You’ve only got 2,000-odd people to dealt with. A small squad for each team or even a group of players would be a marginal cost (relatively).

(Many reputable security firms wouldn’t work for the NFL or an NFL player as things sit though. Some younger players seem to think a bodyguard is a personal thug or a friend or part of their crew, whatever. And think because they have one they can now go into more dangerous places, mouth off, etc. And think generally they don’t have to listen to their security - about security. Like they just gotta get laid, drunk, in an alley, with a small group of people who happen to be wearing the same color scheme around them watching, by this one hot chick who expressed interest in them suddenly when she saw the Rolex. Such a cockblock.)

I know they had (ex-cop) Dave Adams chasing people at nightclubs. If they’re looking to change the culture that’s not a bad way to start, not great, but the personal-conduct policy is ok. (At least 57 players were arrested last year. Out of a group that small - that’s a pretty hefty number. And the culture needs to shift from this “sports guy” thing to a more professional atmosphere.)

But if they’re looking to do security that way - big mistake. As bad as expecting players to defend themselves with firearms. And cops really aren’t the people who should be doing this. Bodyguards either.

Many players don’t get that when they sign the contract and get a few million in the bank they’re no longer the man they were - they’re an enterprise. Protecting themselves is only a matter of keeping their body strong and keeping out of trouble. (I got into it a while back with an NFL player (he didn’t know who I was) - finally got it through his head how much money it would cost him whether he could beat me down or not).

The big soft spot is that social life. And women. People know they have money. And yet, they have parties, keep old crew members around, try to stay in the neighborhood where they grew up.
They don’t want to give up the past. It looks like yet another sacrifice in a long list of things you have to sacrifice to play at that level.

Well, a lot of other business have high profile operators who need to remain social. And they have security support from their company. They don’t have to ‘dumb down’ their lifestyles.

Neither should players. They’re grown men. To treat them like children and expect them to worry about their own security is stupid. The NFL, and pro-sports in general, is trying to maintain the same traditions players had when they were amateurs. They’re trying to pretend it’s not a profession and it’s not entertainment. Well, y’know, when you’re off the field, the game is over. It’s real life, and there aren’t any rules.

So either they’re NFL employees and the NFL (et.al) accepts responsibility for their safety and either hires or builds a professional security firm - since they’re the ones putting them before the public eye - or they lift this half-assed collegiate personal conduct crap, call them subcontractors and let them drink and drive, carry guns or whatever, like anyone else just doing a job.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:23 PM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Them thugs you know, ain't friendly
Those jewels you rock, make 'em envy
You thinkin it's all good, you creep through your small hood
Goons comin up outta a cut for your goods and they all should

posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 7:43 PM on November 19, 2008

It compels Jaguars running back Fred Taylor to use the car with the less showy factory rims when he goes out at night.

I don't mean to make light of what is really a terrifying trend, but this was a little much, especially given that it is used as part of a pull quote. Telling me that there's something bad out there that's forcing the millionaire to drive his *less* fancy car around isn't the best way to draw sympathetic attention to the issue.
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:12 AM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

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