Ball-Players and Body Guards

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A commenter sent along this interesting piece on the NFL:


Concerned about allowing their highly paid, high-profile employees to wander unprotected among an often opportunistic public, the Giants and other professional sports teams have recently taken the increasingly popular concept of team-subsidized driving services a step further. They are seeking out companies that provide not only transportation to prevent impaired driving but also bodyguards with law enforcement credentials to ensure incident-free nights on the town. 

The services are cost-effective for teams, which face league fines that can total hundreds of thousands of dollars if they have more than one player suspended in a season. The security personnel sign confidentiality agreements that bar them from reporting players' behavior to their teams or outsiders. But unlike personal bodyguards, they are trained to stand up to players rather than take orders from them.

The piece leads with Justin Tuck, who to my knowledge, has generally kept his name out of non-football headlines. Which is sort of my point. The main people who'd use this service, are likely to be the ones trying to avoid trouble. The piece throws Ben Roethlisberger's name into the mix, but Roethlisberger had a body-guard. Indeed his body-guard was part of the problem:

The challenge is getting players to utilize such services, whether they include bodyguards or merely on-call drivers. The New York Jets recently signed a contract with Player Protect, the same security company the Giants employ, and decided to cover all costs so their players wouldn't have to pay a dime. Yet a little more than two weeks ago, Edwards, a Jets wide receiver, was charged with drunken driving after leaving a nightclub in Manhattan in his own Range Rover. 

"It still boils down to whether the player uses it or not," [Charles] Way said. "We can do everything in our power to prevent the worst from happening, but unless a player uses the resources he has, you don't know what will happen."

I think it's good that they have the service available. I'm doubtful that it would have, say, kept Brett Favre from texting lewd pictures of himself, Pacman Jones in line.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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