bubba9497 Posted June 13, 2005 Share Posted June 13, 2005 NFL has a lot to clean up after sleazy offseason BOB LIPPER POINT OF VIEW Monday, June 13, 2005 Great league, the NFL. Exceptional commissioner. Dazzling TV revenue stream. Packed stadiums. Savvy marketing. Nielsens even NASCAR would die for. Stable work force. Model drug policy (supposedly). What's not to like? Here's what: Onterrio Smith. Bill Romanowski. Forty-niners film productions. Colts DBs gone wild. Jamal Lewis. Sean Taylor. Kellen Winslow (either one; take your pick). It's been a lovely spring in these parts but a tad stormy up at 280 Park Ave. in New York. That's where the NFL's headquarters is located and where big kahuna Paul Tagliabue pre sides over the most lucrative and envied sports collective on the planet. These days, it looks like he's presiding over CSI: Pro Football. It's not every week a star player misses practice time because he's in the slammer or a former all-star tells how he was juiced to the gills while suiting up or two teammates are booked for two separate incidents or a million-dollar headliner is charged with impersonating Bugsy Malone. Stuff like that happens in the NBA, we're talking Sodom and Gomorrah and how David Stern is shackled to a bunch of punks and losers. Happens in the NFL, we still can't wait for training camps to open. Latrell Sprewell is forever baggage in the NBA. Ray Lewis is a Teflon-coated superstar in the NFL. Still, it's been a grimy stretch for the NFL by any measure. Consider substance abuse, for instance. Why, wasn't it just yesterday Tagliabue was telling Congress how the NFL could best police itself in that area? And then Smith and Romanowski come along to favor the league with a Cheech & Chong moment. Smith is the repeat-offender and now gonzo-for-a-year Vikings tailback who was flagged at the Minneapolis airport for packing "The Original Whizzinator" (insert joke of choice here), a device that's advertised as a means to beat drug tests. Romanowski, meanwhile, is the ex-linebacker/maniac who told the Rocky Mountain News he'd devoured everything this side of STP and radioactive greenies to make himself bigger, faster and badder than anyone else out there. "I was doing things that they couldn't test for," Romanowski told the newspaper. Gee, that must make Tags and his lab assistants sleep well at night. While we're on the subject of dreams, it's a safe bet Joe Gibbs isn't having sweet ones about Sean Taylor, the mercurial Redskins safety with authority-figure issues. Blowing off Gibbs' phone messages and boycotting workouts is one thing, though. Being arrested for allegedly pointing a gun at someone and punching a person is another. Nor was Taylor the only defensive back cited for ruffian tendencies. Fifty percent of the Colts' secondary landed on police blotters when cornerback Nick Harper was arrested for allegedly hitting his wife and safety Mike Doss was booked on gun charges. This isn't what Tony Dungy had in mind when he said he wanted to toughen Indy's defense. Nearby in Cleveland, the Browns hoped to line up Kellen Winslow Jr. at tight end -- that is, until Winslow Jr. got nutty on a jazzy motorcycle and tore up his right knee, whereupon Kellen Winslow Sr. ripped reporters the other day for having the audacity to cover the story. Stupidity on two wheels was matched on one reel by the 49ers, whose (ex-) public relations director produced a video -- it was meant to prepare players for dealing with the media that featured racist jokes, lesbian soft porn and topless women. The mayor of San Francisco called the tape "reprehensible." The Niners -- remember when they were the model NFL franchise -- went 2-14 last season and now are just as hopeless off the field. Finally, there's Jamal Lewis, once a banished substance-abuser and most recently a resident of a federal prison camp in Florida for four months. The Ravens tailback was sent there for his role in a 2000 drug deal and next is headed to an Atlanta halfway house for two months. Being there will prevent him from taking part in next week's Ravens minicamp. Tsk, tsk. "I want to put this whole thing behind me," Lewis said at a post-release news conference. In the NFL, they usually do. Contact Bob Lipper at (804) 649-6555 or email@example.com This story can be found at: http://timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD%2FMGArticle%2FRTD_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1031783250998&path=%21sports&s=1045855934844 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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