After a stretch of bad publicity stemming from various off-field problems, the NFL is turning to Texas head football coach Charlie Strong for help.
Strong has shown the ability to take player discipline seriously with his own team, which is why he met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and executive vice president Troy Vincent to discuss the issue, according to Eric Adelson of Yahoo Sports:
League executives have been impressed with Strong’s hard line on player conduct. He has ramped up drug testing considerably since taking over the Texas job from Mack Brown – 188 tests in only eight months – and he has dismissed nine players from the Longhorns squad for a variety of reasons.
Vincent explained to Adelson:
If I’m a parent, and I’m looking to send my son or daughter – especially my daughter – to the University of Texas, that coach is saying this is important. […]
What Coach Strong is doing is creating a deterrent. You want to play Texas football, you can’t get involved in this…We believe this is a model that should be emulated across the country in both amateur and professional football.
Whether the NFL moves to such a zero-tolerance policy remains to be seen, but it is clear player conduct has become a problem in the league over the past few weeks.
Since the start of the 2014 season, controversies surroundingdomestic abuse with Ray Rice and Greg Hardy, as well as reported child abuse with Adrian Peterson have caused the NFL’s image to take a major hit. Ideally, the league will do what it takes to try to stop these legal issues from taking place.
Although it is nearly impossible to control what athletes do in their free time, harsher punishments for violent crimes could be a good start. Strong’s advice could be beneficial to a league hoping to change the status quo as soon as possible.
In addition to the meeting with the Longhorns coach, Goodell has recently met with a number of former players who were able to offer opinions on the league’s personal conduct policy. A coalition of women’s organizations are also hoping to spend time with the commissioner.
While it remains to be seen what type of impact any of these discussions will have on upcoming policy, getting multiple outside sources with varied opinions can only help the NFL. If this leads to an improvement in player conduct down the line, everyone can end up satisfied.
At the very least, this is something that will help the perception of the league in the short term as the people in charge make an effort to change.