Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots was recently cited in some photographs with his shirt off. To most, this action would not be considered that serious but when you consider that it was with adult film star BiBi Jones and she had his Patriot Jersey on, well let’s just say that this was a compromising position. Gronkoski later issued an apology saying, “I didn’t intend anything to hurt the reputation of anyone on the New England Patriots or on behalf of Robert Kraft.” There was a bit of an uproar by the media and others because organizations such as the Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers typically run a “tight ship” and strongly encourage people within the organization not to do things that would bring unwelcomed publicity.
This action and reaction brings about an interesting dynamic. With all this recent talk about slavery, equality, and fair sharing in sports, is the reality that players can indeed have a completely free life within working for an organization. Outside of sports, this theory varies. Of course you mostly cannot commit crimes and still hope to work at certain facilities and businesses however, when it comes to actions that are not criminal but are left to perception it seems that in sports, there is not much fairness. James Harrison, Linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers was heavily scrutinized for his article in Men’s Journal. He had some choice words to say about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and others, but the main item that caused scrutiny and a second look was the picture that he took. He was shirtless, with crossed arms, and holding handguns. Now, he is perfectly within his right to do this but in NFL Circles he was violating the unwritten code of protecting the NFL Shield. Harrison later retracted a lot of things that he stated in the article and had to explain the photograph, which was obvious, the article was called, “Confessions of an NFL Hitman.” Professional athletes have a difficult task of balancing a very public life versus a private one because some perceive that because of the amount of money that they are being paid that your private life is up for debate as well. Just like the military is not a democratic process once you enter, apparently so is professional sports!
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