Rob Long: Men Behaving Badly
You’ve heard the news by now, the fifth Baltimore Raven was arrested during the off-season. Jimmy Smith was arrested for misdemeanor disorderly conduct late Saturday night after an alleged incident in Towson.
Some would say it’s unfair to lump all of the situations into one or even say that one has something to do with the other but you have to. You have to look at what’s gone on with this football team since the “party bus” incident and be concerned with their focus on winning football games.
This is what I’ve asked myself since Sunday morning. Who is the face of this Ravens team? In the past, we knew who it was. There was no question. Now, not so much. I’m not sure because of Ray Rice’s off-season incident. Besides, it’s tough to make a running back the face of the franchise in today’s National Football League. They come and go so quickly.
With most teams, your quarterback is your face. While Joe Flacco is a winning quarterback, and one of the best at that, can he be considered “the face” of your organization? Does he have the personality and the leadership of a player who carries that banner?
The face of the organization has to assume some leadership as well. During times like these, who steps forward and says, “Guys, enough is enough”? Real leadership creates accountability as well, meaning players really consider the in house consequences of what they do.
The bottom line is players have to want to win on their own. At the end of OTAs, John Harbaugh said, “We have good, really good guys. Football matters to them. The more it matters to you, the less inclined you are to do anything to jeopardize that.” How many guys does football really “matter” to? Beyond playing for your team, your city and your family, do these players care about their own careers? The Baltimore Ravens have had five arrests this off season. According to Profootballtalk.com the other 31 teams have had 14 combined. Lets just hope football matters enough for this team to win.
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