Tag Archives: USA Today Sports

Media Reacts: NFL’s First Month in 6 Years With No Arrests

by Nicholas Muhl

The first month of the 2015 NFL regular season ended this past weekend. The end of September also marked the first month in 6 years that no NFL player has been arrested.

According to Reuters reporter Mike Rosenberg, the NFL has averaged “an arrest per week” since 2009. Rosenberg also reported that this is the first time in 15 years “the NFL went a calendar month during the season without an arrest.” The league has already had 33 total arrests in 2015, most recently San Fransisco 49ers Linebacker Ahmad Brooks who was charged with sexual battery at the end of August.

Alexandra Sifferlin reported the news for TIME and included a link in his article to USA Today’s NFL arrest archive. The archive contains a complete, descriptive account of a total of 805 NFL player arrests records dating back 15 years to January 24, 2000 when Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith was arrested for allegedly beating and choking his wife. It seems paradoxical that 15 years later we continue to see so many similar headlines. Katie Link and Christian Bryant of the Ventura County Star posed this question about the news of an arrest-free month, “should we view this ‘achievement’ as pathetic, or impressive?” On the other hand, the Dispatch Times referred to it as a “mind-blowing milestone.”  

Since 2009 the NFL has been subject to many media and criminal investigations regarding their many player arrests. Most notably is former New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez who was convicted of murder in April. Hernandez and other high profile players like former Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, San Francisco’s Ray MacDonald, Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice, and Viking’s Adrian Peterson have made national headlines and brought up many social issues outside of the sport of football; including rape culture, drug use, animal cruelty, and alcohol and drug abuse. 

The criminal history and violent backgrounds behind many NFL players is not an issue the media has shied away from reporting. However, it is important to note that news of the NFL’s arrest-free month quickly spread on social media, sports blogs and major media conglomerates. This differs from the issue of injuries which I detailed in my article last week, “Protecting the player’s or Protecting the Shield”. Approximately 15 percent of players in the league have experienced an injury this season. While on an individual level this has been heavily reported, injuries and their increasing totals have been a largely avoided issue. However, media and the league did not shy away from making sure (quite literally) that everyone knows it went through an arrest-free month. The NFL and it’s PR department have attempted to put some distance between itself and both the injury and conduct issues the league faces, and will jump at any opportunity they can to make the league look better as it and commissioner Roger Goodell continue to face extreme criticism for the way the league is currently being run. It remains to be seen whether real change is progressing in the league or if this month was merrily a statistical anomaly that further proves the major conduct issues the NFL faces.

OHSAA Title Game Brews the Controversy

By Kaleb Page

April 1, 2015

In the Division II state basketball championship in Ohio there was an ending that you might not see again (at least for a long time). An ending involving a dunk…how is that anything newsworthy?

What happened at the end of that dunk is what really caught the attention of not only people in the state, but people nationally as well.

The game was between Cleveland Central Catholic and Defiance High School. The game was closely contested coming down the stretch. With under a minute in the fourth quarter the score line was 37-35 in favor of Central Catholic. At roughly 45 seconds on the clock, Central Catholic star player Antwon Lillard drove the lane and took off.

Moving fast down the lane Lillard’s momentum springs him to the hole for a big slam. The slam gives his team a huge four point lead to essentially cement the championship. If you remember from earlier I said it wasn’t the dunk that got the reaction it was the after that initiated the debate.

As Lillard dunked he hung on the rim and swung his legs up until he finally landed on the floor. After that action one of the referees gave Lillard a technical foul for hanging on the rim. If you watch the video below you can draw your conclusion on if it should have been called or not (starts at 34 seconds).

This call resulted in two free throws for Defiance and the ball. The bulldogs made both free throws and went on to score on that possession; forcing overtime. Once in overtime the tough nature of the game picked back up, but Defiance walked away the DII Ohio state champion with the final score of 49-45.

“A player can hang from the rim if he is protecting himself from injury if a player or players are underneath him. There were not any players underneath him, and he pulled himself up and swung excessively.” – Denny Morris, OHSAA excutive explaining the ruling (via Cleveland.com)

The national media from USA Today Sports, ESPN, Sporting News, etc. took the story and looked to spread this interesting ending to a big game. Controversy on whether or not the call was right has raged on in any of the comment section you find within an article on this topic.

With that said, I think it is important the national media shows this big ending to a state championship but, it’s important to be fair and not make the referee this huge villain.

Even with the call Defiance had to go to the line and knock down two high pressure free throws. Then when they got that possession they had to work for that basket to tie it and take it into overtime. Yes the call was huge, and yes the call set up for the end result but it still takes capitalizing on. If Defiance misses those free throws are we even sitting here today debating this call as much as we are?

I doubt it.

It is rough to lose that way and you have to feel for those Central Catholic players. At the same time, credit is due for Defiance finishing the job. Circumstances out of your control come up in any sport but it is key to really get past it and focus on what you can control.

Maybe that is the true story line here to realize.

Worry about the things you can control because things will happen you can’t control and when the things you can’t control do happen it is important to keep carrying on.