Chris Borland Has Started More Controversy for the NFL


Despite being retired, Chris Borland is in the spotlight more than ever. The former San Francisco 49ers’ linebacker revealed that, during the NFL’s rookie symposium in 2014, a pair Hall of Famers made some controversial remarks to the league’s newbies.

In the symposium, two former NFL greats, Cris Carter and Warren Sapp were supposed to be giving the rookies advice on how to adjust to life in the spotlight that comes with the territory of being a professional football player. Their advice was to get a “fall guy”, or someone to take the rap when they get in trouble.

"“If you all got a crew, you got to have a fall guy in the crew. If you have a crew, one of those fools got to know, he’s the one going to jail.” – Cris Carter"

It’s okay though, because, as Carter and Sapp both said, “we’ll get him out”.

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NFL players don’t need fall guys. What they need to do is stop committing crimes and to keep out of trouble. Of course, that’s something that both Carter and Sapp should know all too well. Carter’s career was nearly derailed before it truly got started, as he was released by the Philadelphia Eagles after three seasons because of issues with head coach Buddy Ryan, brought on by Carter’s drug and alcohol abuse.

Since retiring in 2007, Sapp has been arrested twice. The first incident was for alleged domestic battery, but those charges were later dropped. Earlier in 2015, the day after Super Bowl XLIX, Sapp was arrested again for soliciting a prostitute and assault, and was let go from the NFL Network as a result.

Instead of getting fall guys, maybe the players should consider not punching their wives or girlfriends. Maybe they shouldn’t be involved in dogfighting. Maybe they shouldn’t take loaded handguns into nightclubs. Maybe they shouldn’t get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated. The NFL even has a designated driver program to prevent that sort of thing, but guys like Josh Brent and Aldon Smith didn’t take advantage of that perk. Neither of them have an NFL job right now.

Plaxico Burress has had his share of troubles in the past. The whole “taking loaded handguns into nightclubs” thing was dedicated to him, as he famously shot himself in the leg in 2008 in a club in Manhattan, New York. He had his own views on Borland’s report, as he stated on his personal twitter account in a series of tweets.

"“In all seriousness, I’ve made some choices that have resulted in some consequences that I can never get back. BUT, not one time did I blame…[s]omeone else. I’ve always stood up, been accountable, and accepted full responsibility for my actions” “Bottom line, you can’t tell [NFL] rookies nothing like that. We suppose to be helping them, not advising them to to have a Fall Guy. Unreal”"

He would also say “I[‘m] gad my son wasn’t sitting in that NFL symposium”, which he repeated three times, further emphasizing his point. Burress may have gotten himself into trouble, but he owned up to it. He told the team (the New York Giants, at the time) about what happened. It was a stupid decision to be in a club with a gun, but he did the right thing afterwards by being upfront about it.

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The NFL, as usual, was late in responding to the situation. They had the video of the symposium on their website, but of course, removed it after Borland’s interview. They would release a statement afterwards, saying “This was an unfortunate and inappropriate comment made by Cris Carter during the 2014 NFC rookie symposium. The comment was not representative of the message of the symposium or any other league program. The league’s player engagement staff immediately expressed concern about the comment to Cris. The comment was not repeated in the 2014 AFC session or this year’s symposium.”

But really, how much can you trust the NFL, and more specifically, commissioner Roger Goodell at this point? The NFL’s suspension scale seems to be done by pulling scraps of paper out of a hat, and they don’t exactly handle controversy well. The whole “deflategate” investigation took about four months, and the case is still ongoing, as it’s been taken to court. There’s still nothing farther than “well, he maybe might have had an idea that something was going on”. They seemingly change rules that don’t make sense by re-writing them in a different color of ink.

The point is, the NFL needs to find a way to curb the legal issues that have plagued the league. Having a “fall guy” and covering up problems is not the solution. The inmates are running the asylum right now, and the league needs to get back control.

Until they do, this is just another black eye for a league that hasn’t recovered from the numerous black eyes they’ve already suffered.

Next: Mike Purcell Continues Strong Push