Recently we have witnessed the tragedy of 4 football players who were lost at sea in the Gulf of Mexico. Nick Schuyler managed to hold on to the cap sized boat and was saved, but three others including NFL veterans Marquis Cooper and Cory Smith were not so lucky. As sad as it is, this tragedy is unfortunately the most recent in a long line of professional athletes behaving stupidly with their free time. These athletes are some of the highest paid people in any industry, yet they for some reason risk their well being with their dangerous and reckless recreational pursuits.
A professional athlete's body is crucial to his well being. It is through his athleticism and physical skill that he makes his paycheck. Despite this, we have seen several athletes who have risked their bodies and their paychecks all for the sake of fun. The best example of this is probably former Duke basketball stand out Jason "Jay" Williams. After being the most dominant guard in the NCAA at Duke, Williams was drafted in the first round (2nd overall) by the Chicago Bulls and no doubt singed a fat contract. After a promising season with the Bulls, Williams was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and almost lost a leg. He also was not wearing a helmet. Kellen Winslow Jr. also decided that it would be a good idea to buy a motorcycle and, after missing all but two games in 2004 with a broken leg, crashed his bike and tore his ACL causing him to miss all of 2005. Moreover, my boy Big Ben Roethlisberger got into a motorcycle crash that kept him out of week 1 in 2006 and never let him get off to a good start to the season.
It's not only motorcycles though, and the stories do not all end with just a broken bone or two. Former Patriots defensive end Marquise Hill was killed when he fell off his jet ski in Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana and drowned. And most recently, we have the case of the three missing football players whose search and rescue operation was called off by the Coast Guard yesterday.
Why do these players, whose contracts stipulate that they can not engage in activities other than their sport that may endanger their health, act so irresponsibly? Why do they willingly risk their physical well being, which is crucial to their job? It is like they are sitting on a winning lottery ticket and just throw it away. Do they think that they are indestructible because they are pro athletes? Is playing a pro sport not fun enough for them? Whatever the reason, they are not taking their careers into account. Some of these pro players need to think about just how much they are risking when they hop onto that motorcycle or jet ski or boat.