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Photo from abcnews.com

Photo from abcnews.com

In what should come as no surprise to anyone by now, former New England Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez was formally charged with the murder of 27 year old Odin Lloyd this morning.

Hernandez was a rising star in the NFL.  Alongside fellow TE Rob Gronkowski, the duo helped lead the Patriots to one Super Bowl, and nearly make a second.  How quickly things can derail.hernandez

In what seems to have become an epidemic in the NFL in the last 4 months, Hernandez is one of 28 players that have been arrested.  Although Hernandez’s crime is by far the worst, it doesn’t dispel the fact there is an issue amongst player character and judgment.

It hasn’t just been limited to the last 4 months either.  Nor, has it been limited to just the NFL.  Athletes from all around the professional sports realm, at least on the American side anyways, seem to not be able to stay out of the way of the law.  Why is this?

There is no real answer to that question.  The better question should be, “What can be done to help these athletes make better decisions in their personal lives?”

The NFL several years ago started a program after the draft called the “Rookie Symposium,” where they have current and former players with a history of legal problems come in and try to inform the rookies of their past mistakes.  The theory being, if these young kids hear some of what the other guys have been through, maybe they won’t make the same mistake.

Well, it appears the message isn’t getting across too well.  From DUI’s, to drugs, and now a murder, things just seem to be getting worse.  Just this morning, the same morning Hernandez was booked into jail on murder charges, a rookie member of the Cleveland Brown was arrested for attempted murder resulting from a fight outside a nightclub.

If you make that kind of money, what can really be so bad you nearly beat another person to death?  I can’t think of anything.  Hell, Ben Roethlisberger alone has been accused twice of sexual assault.  Really?  It never should have happened the first time, let alone a second.  By the same person.

Sam Hurd, formerly of the Chicago Bears, was arrested last off-season and charged with felony drug distribution, after being caught with enough cocaine to make Scarface jealous.

The list goes on and on.  And it’s a rather extensive one.

So what can be done about this rash of run-ins with the law?  Classes aren’t helping.  Suspensions aren’t helping.  Hell, prior run-ins with the law aren’t helping.

In a copycat world, like the one we live in, this cannot continue.  More and more kids around the country turn to and look up to these professional athletes.  It’s in their mind that it is ok to go out and do what the athletes are doing.  In turn, that child is the next one in trouble.

Yes, you can argue this has been going on since the beginning of time. Albeit, not in sports, but definitely in life.  If you truly think about the world today, though, you can start to get an understanding of why this culture of legal issues needs to change.  It’s not only taking talented athletes off the field, it’s teaching the youth of America the wrong way to live.