Perception is everything in today’s world.
I’m guilty of it and I would pretty much bet whoever is reading this is guilty of it as well.
Each day it seems like we turn on the television, flip on sports radio or scroll through Twitter feeds and hear about another athlete arrested for whatever reason.
Until recently, things have been quite quiet for many years on the Ravens home front; however, as you all know by now that has changed drastically over the last few weeks with the arrests of Ray Rice and Deonte Thompson in separate incidents.
The news of Rice’s arrest has made national headlines, and rightly so due to the seriousness of what he may have done. For Thompson and the charges against him, what looks relatively minor may be anything but.
I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV so I won’t pretend to predict the outcome of what will happen from a legal standpoint with Rice or Thompson.
Here is what I do know…
As the NFL offseason continues, there will no doubt be more headlines involving players getting into trouble. Whether said trouble is major or minor, that’s just the nature of the beast. We all know negative press gets more page views, listeners or whatever the case than does positives news, and media outlets thrive off of it.
The overwhelming perception this type of media environment creates is that NFL players are just million-dollar talents with five-cent heads. Yes, there are plenty of players that have it all and still choose to do boneheaded things, yet for every one of them there are five players who don’t.
Where is that coverage?
When I first started writing about football and the Ravens I concentrated on the player positives for that reason alone. It should be noted that these players who do so much for the community don’t do it for the media or for the coverage – they do it because they care. Yet for me, as often as the media put them on blast for something negative, they should acknowledge the positives too, right? So I took that idea and ran with it.
Sure, you get the whole nine yards when a superstar does something wrong, yet on numerous days or nights I found myself the only one covering positive events in the community; there was seldom a news camera or a newspaper reporter around me. While this is not a shot to the people whose job it is to cover such events, it does speak volumes to me.
For the Ravens, they have a large group of players that go above and beyond for the community. Not because they have to but because it’s something they value. Some will argue that, with the money they make, they should be doing this, and yes I would agree with that, to an extent.
It’s more than money though; it’s about getting involved to make a difference. The things I have witnessed from these players, whether it’s providing Thanksgiving meals to the hungry or coat drives for the homeless or backpack giveaways for students, or just providing life lessons to aspiring athletes…it’s all been truly humbling.
While these players play football for a living, they really are just people like you and me. Sure, they have a few extra zeros at the end of their paychecks than you and I might but they are people as well.
So the next time you turn on your television or tune into your favorite sports radio station or click on your favorite website (hopefully Russell Street Report) and see some not-so-good news, just remember that, for every instance of a player getting himself into trouble, there are just as many players – if not more – doing good deeds that will go unreported.
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