This is post number 200 for Prospector.
I agree with the points Gore_21 and Coldfan made. The NFL today is FAR worse than it was in the 90s and 80s, and forget about the 70s and before. But it's not just because the players randomly became evil. There are society trends behind this, then one big NFL-specific problem at the core of it which I'll mention at the end.
* The size of the police apparatus has grown tremendously. More and more government money goes into policing, and there are more and more laws that make ordinary human activities illegal. So inevitably more and more people get arrested, often for things that in a more forgiving or rational culture do not deserve jail time. For example, you play a violent, physical game and your body is aching, you smoke a little weed... Or, you have money problems and get behind in child support payments...
* The population has increased tremendously, as has the amount of poverty and income disparity, since the 70s/80s. That naturally creates more crime, which means there are more people -- WAY more people -- growing up in or around criminal cultures. That whole "thug 4 life" bs.
There are probably other trends people can think of. Stuff like gangster rap though is a reflection, not a cause, of people's living conditions.
The NFL specific problem:
The NCAA is utterly and completely corrupt. Too many colleges in that system will give a "scholarship" to any two-bit illiterate felon, as long as they can run fast and tackle hard. These programs, especially in the SEC, will even cover up their crimes and pay them under the table. Why? Because their otherwise unknown and mediocre colleges get big money from the TV networks. The profit motive has corrupted and destroyed college sports and tainted much of college life, with a few notable exceptions like Stanford or UC Berkeley. But in some places, like Texas, it's even making a joke of their high schools -- it doesn't matter how many cheerleaders get raped, as long as you win the championship. Completely disgusting.
What can the NFL do about the NCAA corruption? Not much really, maybe set up an alternative minor league. I think it would take a Supreme Court decision or a strong president with actual principles to force through some kind of law saying that 'student-athlete' situation is a joke and that either the NCAA should start paying their teams on the NFL pay scale, or all their TV profits will be seized and distributed to all past and former players.
Until that happens, pieces of absolute human trash like serial killer Aaron Hernandez are going to be the norm. Not every player will be as murderous as him of course, but brain-dead criminalized gangsters like him will be (and are) common through the league.
[ Edited by Prospector on Jun 28, 2013 at 11:55 PM ]