Good Grief! Hall of Fame WR Cris Carter Tells NFL Rookies to Get ‘Fall Guy’ for Legal Troubles

Do you think the NFL should be giving this kind of advice to its players?

Legendary NFL wide receiver Cris Carter had something of a checkered off-the-field reputation – including being cut from the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster amid problems with drugs and alcohol – during his career, but he’s managed to put that aside as a popular football analyst for ESPN.

That could well be in jeopardy now that video of Carter suggesting NFL rookies at a 2014 orientation session that designating a “fall guy” within their entourages so that barroom brawls or other antisocial behavior wouldn’t derail their careers is a good idea…

Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter told those in attendance at the 2014 NFL rookie symposium to anoint a “fall guy” among their friends, should they ever run into trouble off the field.

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Yahoo Sports’ Frank Schwab passed along the key remarks Carter made to the impressionable young men last year:

I let my homeboys know, y’all want to keep rolling like this, then I need to know who gonna be the fall guy, who’s going to be driving. Y’all not going to all do the right stuff now. So I’ve got to teach you how to get around all this stuff, too. If you’re going to have a crew, one of them fools got to know he going to jail. We’ll get him out. … If you’re going to have a crew, make sure they understand, can’t nothing happen to you. Your name can’t be in lights, under no circumstances. You all understand that?

The video…

Carter is joined on the video with fellow NFL former star Warren Sapp, who also had an up-and-down career off the field. The whole video actually shows a relatively positive message – namely, that bad off-field behavior can spoil a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to achieve the fame and fortune an NFL roster spot can secure.

But the advice to designate someone to take the fall for whatever bad behavior the assembled rookies might commit ruined whatever message Carter might have been trying to convey. One of the attendees, San Francisco 49’ers linebacker Chris Borland – who made headlines by retiring after only one year as a pro – noted that he was “appalled” at Carter’s suggestion, which is now corroborated with the video.

It really isn’t that hard for someone like Carter to explain that drugs and alcohol and “the life” nearly destroyed his NFL career and sullied his reputation as a player, and that while the temptation to play the cliched role of gangster athlete might be strong the best advice he could offer would be to resist it and focus on being a good citizen and a positive role model in celebration and appreciation of the opportunity the NFL offers.

That this can’t be accomplished shows that the NFL has a problem in its culture – but no more so than does society as a whole.

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