The Fall of Aaron Hernandez (Special to Pro Football Guru)
By Lisa McGonagleProFootballGuru.com Guest Columnist27 NFL Players have been arrested since 2012. While many claim that this is actually lower than the national average of citizens arrested they forget to make one critical adjustment in their calculation: NFL players fall in a different socioeconomic bracket. They are college educated and earn in excess of $1 million dollars. Thus, if we make that correction, they are arrested not in a lower than national average, but actually at a rate significantly higher than the national average.On June 26, 2013, Aaron Hernandez, former tight end with the New England Patriots, and recipient of to date the largest contract for that position in March at $40 million dollars was arrested and charged with first degree murder.The Patriots immediately terminated Hernandez, and a source within the organization has informed me that they are in the process of voiding all of his contract guarantees, meaning that Hernandez will keep his attorneys busy for years. It seems Hernandez forgot that those big fancy contracts are still for the public’s benefit and made the critical mistake of believing his own hype.<!--more-->In the following days two additional arrests have been made and Hernandez, like anyone else, will learn the hard way as to who his friends are. As we sit witness to yet another athlete’s fall from grace, we are reminded of an important fact…Athletes are not role models.Athletes should never be role models. They are born with skills, athletic gifts and they work to develop them. Because they can do things that we can’t, we elevate them to special status that they do not deserve. If you take away that born gift, what are they? Nothing. They are not special.Lance Armstrong, Michael Vick, Oscar Pistorious, Tiger Woods, Brett Favre, Kobe Bryant--the list is endless. They don’t save a life, or do anything truly heroic using the true definition of heroism. They are paid outrageous sums of money to play a game.Be careful who your kid looks up to and whose behavior they emulate. You may not realize it, but when your kid puts on an Aaron Hernandez shirt, they’re looking to emulate them. They’re just athletes…Nothing more, nothing less.Yes, I know--there are many athletes who do their job, have great foundations, and stay out of the fray: Donald Driver, Deion Branch, LaDainian Tomlinson--this list is by no means exhaustive. These are people who are role models not because of their athletic skills, but because they are good guys, doing their job, and giving something back to the world they live in.Many however, who come to fame and money too fast make choose not to take this approach. They make screwed up decisions, surround themselves with crappy friends, and the only difference is they have millions of dollars to insulate them or help them get in even more trouble than the average person.In a 1993 interview Charles Barkley said "I'm not a role model…Just because I dunk a basketball doesn't mean I should raise your kids."Barkley was right.A life log sports fan, Lisa is a former Director of Compliance for a publicly traded corporation. She was an Adjunct Faculty Member at Northeastern University for 5 years, holds a Master's in Government Policy from KSG, and has spent seventeen years in the legal field. Lisa currently owns Ultimate Tutor Group in Boston, an academic coaching company dedicated to cultivating every child's academic potential.