Indianapolis Colts – Joe Lefeged Should Not Be Suspended for His Arrest

by Kent Sterling

UnknownThe NFL would like people to believe its players are choirboys on Monday through Saturday, but become beast on Sundays when they are paid to maul the men playing across from them in a different colored shirt.  They wear helmets, pads, and tape their joints because they would be hospitalized without them.

Players have thoughts before they run on to the field each Sunday that not only might this be their last game, but that they might never walk again if they get hit in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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The NFL is filled with men who evaluate risk and reward in ways that normal people can’t imagine.  Football is a violent game played by men who know when they need to turn on and off the impulse to injured or maim that lies dormant in most of us.

When former players are committing suicide all around them because of irreparable brain damage caused by repeated head trauma, the consequences of getting arrested for being a dumbass don’t resonate as they might for the rest of society.

So when Indianapolis Colts special teams captain Joe Lefeged was pinched for carrying a gun unlicensed in Washington DC and having an open container of alcohol in the car in which he was a passenger, it’s unlikely he thought that was the worst thing that had happened in his life.

The Colts and the NFL should view this incident through a similar prism because they are not in the business of gathering well-mannered and virtuous chaps who are deacons in their churches.

The gun Lefeged carried was licensed, just not in Washington DC, and if people are going to be suspended from work for drinking in a car – as we might assume Lefeged was – there are going to be as many people in Indiana on furlough as reporting for work after the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

But the NFL and its teams don’t like noise.  They are a reactive bunch, as are all major leagues, that will act if prompted by fan outrage driven by media exposure.  The “No Fun League” does everything it can to perpetuate the ludicrous myth that NFL players are just like you and me.

What the NFL actually does is take the largest, fastest, and most nimble men in our society, encourage them to unleash their inner beasts, and then spit them out into society until someone bigger, faster, and more nimble comes along.  Then, they are cast out into alumni associations to commiserate about how difficult their lives are without football.

The discipline to which NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has become inexorably linked is a canard that allows fans to watch the games with a clear conscience.  It has nothing to do with the players, and the hope they will live better lives.  It’s all about the fans – all about the people who buy tickets and watch on TV believing that they are not supporting decadence through their investment of passion and cash.

And it’s the only reason Lefeged would be suspended by the Colts.  The message sent to his peers through a suspension would be that the NFL is a hypocritical outfit that is about anything but the players’ welfare and benefit, not that carrying a gun or being mildly irresponsible should be avoided.

It’s likely that Lefeged will be allowed to play without suspension because the outrage in Indianapolis is minimal.  The media here doesn’t stand and scream for attention – taking inane and irresponsible views like it does in other cities.  The Colts will be allowed to act as their conscience dictates, which is to do everything possible to put the best 53 players on the field every Sunday, and that means Lefeged will pay a fine in Washington and that will be the end of it.

For anyone who wants to draw a cause and effect parallel between excellent citizens and winning in the NFL, let me share the story of the St. Louis Rams, who have had the fewest players arrested among NFL teams since 2000.  Only eight Rams have been charged with a crime during that time, and from 2007-2011, the Rams put together the worst five year record (15-65) in league history.

I hate to burst any bubbles, but there are some guys on the field each Sunday who are malicious psychopaths.  More than a few are downright scary people who make their tough as hell teammates shake in their shoes.  As long as they can run, hit, catch, and throw, that’s life in the NFL.

6 thoughts on “Indianapolis Colts – Joe Lefeged Should Not Be Suspended for His Arrest

  1. CK

    Kent, I understand what you are saying, but……..the goal has to be to do better. At some point being a player in the NFL or the NBA & MLB must mean something more than I continue the lifestyle I had before I signed a lucrative contract. It was the same way when I went to work for a prestigious accounting firm and my neighbor got a job with Goldman Sachs. Most of us made the decision that for the sake of our careers and our families, we would not subject ourselves to the risks we did during our college years. The NFL needs to strive to be better. The only way to do that is to have harsh penalties for the violators. The NFL (and the Colts) needs to send a message that riding around in a car with a gun looking for trouble by “professional” athletes will not be tolerated. Lefeged needs to be cut by the Colts – now.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      Lefeged did several things wrong, but all were part of the same act. If this behavior repeats, that would reveal a lack of ability to listen and adapt – keys to operating successfully in the NFL. The Colts are not the parents of these players; they are employers and if the value of the player exceeds the negative done by the transgression, Lefeged should put his pads and helmet on and go hit people.

    2. kentsterling Post author

      And to whom would the NFL be sending a message? To the players who have been shown time and time again that their health (today and 20 years from now) is of no consequence to the league?

      “The NFL needs to strive to be better” in what way? Behaviorally? They need to coach up people paid for their ability to either inflict violence or avoid it to make them better people? NFL team are popular or unpopular based upon their ability to win, and good football players win games. Parents are supposed to help children mature, not employers.

      If Lefeged can’t play better than another guy available to the Colts, cut him. Otherwise, strap on your helmet, Joe.

  2. Alan Graybosch

    I can excuse the open container, the gun, the purported marijuana, and possibly the attempt to flee but not all 4. Cut him.

    1. Matt

      Lefeged wasn’t charged with fleeing. And how many people knew that having a gun registered in Maryland didn’t carry over to DC? And who knew that you have to register ammunition and that it was illegal to have a gun in a car? Last I heard, neither of those are illegal where I live. And there was pot in Leveled’s system, why didn’t the police report say that. And to top it off, the other guy they caught hasn’t been charged with anything. Maybe you hold off on being so judgmental.


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