Editorial: NFL Thugs

Cleveland, OH - This is the week that NFL football players report to training camp to prepare for the new season - those who aren't under indictment, under suspension or in jail.

The NFL is grappling with a serious image problem - at least 35 players were arrested in 2006 and a half dozen more this year on charges ranging from disorderly conduct to felony burglary.    The latest NFL poster boy for egregious behavior is Atlanta's star quarterback, Michael Vick, charged with running a dog fighting ring. The new NFL commissioner says the league will take a hard stand against bad boy players, which it certainly ought to do.

But, it's not as though the teams didn't know who they were drafting in the first place. Almost all teams do background checks on players before they are signed and, most teams have tended to give troubled players a free pass as long as they could play football. The NFL is now learning, like the rest of our society, that there is a price to pay for tolerating thugs.