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Cris Carter And Protecting the Shield of the NFL, The Irony of it all

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
August 24, 2015 at 6:07 am ET

Cris Carter And Protecting the Shield of the NFL, The Irony of it all
Posted: Aug 24, 2015 06:07
🕑 Read Time: 2 minutes

Cris Carter and Warren Sapp were chosen by Troy Vincent and the NFL to speak at the league’s rookie symposium in 2014 to prepare for life in the NFL. Let that one sink in a second.

Neither would be considered a shining example on how to conduct your life in the NFL. Carter had plenty of off-field issues and Sapp’s have been well documented and have followed him long after his playing days were over. So what was Vincent thinking here?

Granted his idea was to bring in players who hadn’t walk the straight and narrow to illustrate to young players the pitfalls of life in the NFL. One of the more intriguing speakers to the 2014 Rookie Class was Donte Stallworth, the former Patriots wide receiver who was charged with and served time for a DUI that resulted in the death of Mario Reyes.

Stallworth’s message was clear, don’t learn from your own mistakes, learn from others’ and never put yourself in a position where someday you may have to live with taking another man’s life.

But then there’s Carter. What advice does Carter give NFL rookies a year ago? If you get in trouble, commit a felony and get a fall guy to take the rap for you. This is Vincent’s “vision” for the league’s rookie symposium? No wonder the league is in such disarray.

One can’t imagine what is worse; the fact that Carter was allowed by the league to say such things to rookies or the fact that the NFL left the video on its own website for over a year for all to see.

There was Carter, counseling future NFL players to obstruct justice while decked out in his gold NFL Hall of Fame jacket. The same jacket emblazoned with the shield Roger Goodell and Vincent supposedly strive to protect. Oh the irony of it all.

The league (quickly?), distanced itself from Carter’s comments, a year after the fact stating yesterday, “This was an unfortunate and inappropriate comment made by Cris Carter during the 2014 NFC rookie symposium,” the NFL said. “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.”

It expressed concern to Carter but didn’t feel it necessary to take the video off of its website until yesterday when the backlash it generated a year later mandated it.

Carter yesterday apologized and released this statement. “Seeing that video has made me realize how wrong I was,” said Carter said. “I was brought there to educate young people and instead I gave them very bad advice. Every person should take responsibility for his own actions. I’m sorry and I truly regret what I said that day.”

So Vincent’s and Goodell vision for the league’s rookies and protecting the all-important “Integrity of the Game” is to shift blame and find a fall guy.

How utterly appropriate.

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About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at, as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2014 NFL Rookie Symposium Cris Carter DeflateGate Integrity of the game protecting the shield Roger Goodell Tom Brady Troy Vincent

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