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Dear Cris Carter, No More.

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Dear Cris Carter, No More.

Over the past two years, I found myself championing Cris Carter; a thought that would make my teenage self, cringe. All those horrible Packers games in the Metrodome and that purple number 80 jersey, images of Carter celebrating with Warren Moon were burned into my childhood memory as painful scars of the Vikings repeatedly beating the Packers in Minnesota.

And yet, years later, in the midst of a tumultuous time in the NFL, I found myself appreciating Carter’s honesty, passion and directness on the social issues the NFL was facing.

There was his reaction to the Adrian Peterson child abuse case that aired on ESPN’s pregame show.

 

I promise my kids, I won’t teach that mess to them.

There was his teary anti-domestic violence commercial, in partnership with the NFL.

There was Cris Carter, grown up, changed man, publicly setting an example. An example of what was right and wrong within the NFL and society as a whole. I stood up and applauded. We needed more influential, loud voices like his.

I was wrong because three months before his speech about child abuse and five months before his speechless No More commercial – and on the anniversary of the weekend that Aaron Hernandez was arrested for murder – Cris Carter stood on stage, wearing his NFL Hall of Fame jacket, advising NFL players about the advantages of having a fall guy.

Part of Carter’s comments at the 2014 Rookie Symposium are correct. Not every person in that room is going to follow all the rules and make all the right decisions. That’s pretty much standard if you gathered any group of people that size. People make mistakes. People break the law. People have demons. People have issues. That’s not an NFL thing, that’s not a rookie about to become a big star thing. It’s a human thing.

The Cris Carter lecturing on ESPN pregame and in commercials, advised that group – and us all – to make better choices, to seek council, to work on ourselves. The Cris Carter in private advised having someone around willing to take the fall, even if it meant jail time. That Cris Carter doesn’t want to teach people do to better; he wants to teach you “how to get around” the trouble you’re going to get into. Public Cris Carter won't teach the mess of violence to his children, but private Cris Carter will teach the mess of not taking responsibility for your actions to other people's children. 

Public Cris Carter, “really regrets his words” but I’m doubtful private Cris Carter cares at all.

The NFL’s image problem isn’t just about the criminals, abusers, or mistake makers that take the field on game days. And that is where the NFL continues to fail. A couple of bad seeds does not represent the collective whole. And only addressing those people, as opposed to the larger issue is cyclical.

It is the culture of enabling – the people who thought LeSean McCoy’s secret location, no camera phones, all female invite party was a good idea to avoid extortion, which the TV show Ballers has taught us is very common. It is the culture of laughing off these issues – listen back to the Carter clip from the NFL symposium, Warren Sapp and a room full of players laughed and Carter kept going. It is the culture that while publicly we can take all the high moral stands we want, the end game is just blame someone else.

So I learned my lesson. I doubt the NFL did, as reports now are that the NFL tried to keep Carter’s comments out of the press.

It’s not always the crime, it’s the cover up. In this case, the cover up is just as telling. The NFL can say now they thought the comments were inappropriate, but did they tell the attendees that message? Did they care enough to put a disclaimer on the video when they eventually published it to their website?

So Cris Carter, let me put this in words you might understand, No More. No more tears for commercials, no more impassioned pleas about how your mother was wrong. Unless you’re telling me, those young men you taught that day, and future players and fans, that YOU were wrong, that YOU are part of the problem just as much as the Ravens and Goodell turning a blind eye, just as much as the embarrassing way Carolina handled the Greg Hardy situation, No More to you. 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (45) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

croatpackfan's picture

You are 100% right!

packerfan9507's picture

Jayme laying the lumber. Well done.

MarkinMadison's picture

What a horrible, horrible message. And if the NFL regrets this then why the hell was Warren Sapp even on that stage for a discussion about (what, avoiding trouble?) in the first place? But let's go back to CM3's very true comment, to paraphrase: The things that make you a great player on the field make you a horrible person off the field. Some guys have the life options and the moral fortitude to walk away and do something else. Pat Tillman, Chris Borland, my late friend (that none of you have ever heard of). Some guys play, but don't have the "passion" for the game, and end up exiting at the level where their athleticism alone is no longer so superior that the lack of enthusiasm and dedication can make up for it. And then there are the guys who love it. Some are good guys off the field, and some are not. Some can completely flip the switch when they step off the field, and some cannot. Many fall in between. This is what you get. Don't kid yourself.

Bearmeat's picture

Meh.

I don't like Cris Carter. But not because of something he said behind closed doors more than a year ago - because he generally has been a self serving schmuck his whole career. I didn't buy it when he stood up to AP. I didn't buy it when he claimed Randy Moss was the whole problem in 1998-2000.

The top achievers in any field in the world will less often be admirable people than the majority of the population in that field. Excellence rewards pushing yourself past reasonable limits, so it makes sense that many top performers are egotistic morons.

The real problem behind comments like "the fall guy" is the enablers throughout Carters life (and many people's lives who are great at something) who allowed or encouraged a poor standard of behavior because of the persons "talent." Until we fix that as a culture (and that won't ever happen), athletes, stock brokers, musicians, politicians, businessmen, etc... Will keep acting like schmucks.

D.D. Driver's picture

Ever the contrarian, I will disagree (just slightly). I'm somewhat sympathetic to CC's message and here is why: sports media has become cycle of outrage and hypocritical moralizing. One mistake can cost millions of dollars. I've had plenty friends and family members do something stupid, pay the consequences and move on. In the end, its a lesson learned and not a huge deal.

Today, every slip up by an athlete is a BIG FUCKING DEAL. Aren't you ANGRY!?! How dare these wealthy 20-somethings make the same mistakes that lots of low-profile 20-somethings make!!! I just want to go on the tv and scream at the camera for an hour straight!! Think of the CHILDREN!!! Goodell has got to send a message to these guys. We want justice to be HARSH, ARBITRARY, UNPRECEDENTED, and NOW!

So I can't blame Chris Carter for the sentiment. He probably should have been a little more discrete about it, but I can't blame him for the sentiment.

DBH's picture

Right on! Sports media (read: all media) want the NFL to enforce morality for the masses to see. Since the courts will not / cannot hand down stiff judgment for serious crimes (Ray Rice), the media clamors for the NFL to step in as a surrogate judicial system, which puts young athletes in a really bad position if they happen to slip up like so many young adults do.

WKUPackFan's picture

The collective media doesn't want the NFL or anyone else enforcing morality. The media wants a story, they could care less about anything else.

The media correctly gauges that a lot of folks get outraged about these situaions. Clicks and views result. Put simply, the media doesn't care if Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson commited crimes or were appropriately punished by the legal system.

P.S. Bloggers aren't included in the "collective media" in this situation.

ray nichkee's picture

Doesnt tom brady have 2 fall guys?

Since '61's picture

Jayme - your article is very timely and well said. Rather than accept responsibility for our actions too many people believe that as long as you can get away with something it must be OK. Just a horrible, stupid message by Cris Carter and yet another blemish on the NFL. It is becoming harder and harder to remain interested in this league. Thanks, Since '61

D.D. Driver's picture

Our last three U.S. presidents have engaged in behavior in their 20s that would have an NFL player branded a "thug." No one should have to accept responsibility for the massive overreaction to relatively harmless behavior. Especially when the overblown consequences could be hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.

If you are an Ivy League student, like Bush, Obama, and Clinton, you can screw around and know that society will cut you a break, and you have personal connections to get you out of hot water. Most NFL players are not from that world. They stay out of trouble with street smarts. That is, essentially, what Carter what saying.

WKUPackFan's picture

I agree with your overall point. However, I perceive a bias against smart, successful people. Without checking statistics, I'm sure plenty of Ivy League people have gotten into "situations" that their alleged "connections" could not take care of. One the other hand, neither Clinton nor Obama came from privileged backgounds, so the issue cuts both ways.

D.D. Driver's picture

Biased *against* smart, successful people? Geez. I guess the presumption is that I am neither smart nor successful...

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Life is hard when you are biased against yourself, DD! Either that, or you're just one of those self-loathers.

Personally, I don't know you well enough to make a prognosis. Probably no one else on this site does either.

WKUPackFan's picture

Certainly I don't him well enough either. That is why I said perceived. I believe the point could have been made without reference to Ivy League students (which I have no connection to).

WKUPackFan's picture

That wasn't what I meant at all D.D.! I torture myself by spending time on HardBallTalk. There's a lot of bashing of "rich white people" there.

Sorry my reply came across as an insult, it was certainly not meant that way.

Your Fellow Packer fan, WKU

D.D. Driver's picture

No worries. I just found it amusing.

The point was not to bash Ivy Leaguers. The point was really to say, we should give athletes the same benefit of the doubt that we give Ivy Leaguers. Being 23 and making some dumb choices doesn't make someone a thug. Obama was never a thug, and we shouldn't rush to judgment on the next NFL player that is caught behaving like Obama (or Bush or Clinton) behaved when he was that age.

I would actually prefer that Goodell fully retreat from enforcing all of the "character" offenses. He should be enforcing matters that effect player safety and competition. If a player commits a crime, that should be dealt with by the police and the criminal justice system.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I've written for years that the NFL should consider getting out of penalizing off the field issues altogether. It can only lead to a morass of second guessing as to whether one peccadillo should be penalized at all or is worse than some other incident.

D.D. Driver's picture

Agreed.

Not only that, but I think Goodells "let's see which way the wind of outrage blows" approach is actually counter-productive to the system of justice. It very well be in everyone's best interest fro prosecutors to strike plea deals with players and get them into diversion programs for things like family violence and DUIs, etc. But players are going to be increasingly reluctant to cooperate if they know that in addition to any sentence from the justice system, they face harsh penalties from the league. Instead of taking a deal for suspended sentence with court mandated treatment, now players have to fight every step of the way, go to trial and try to prove their "innocence." You've made the prosecutors' jobs harder, and made the process more expensive for everyone. And all for what?

"We are going to interfere with the administration of actual justice (with all of those niceties called due process, proportionality, proprietorial discretion, etc.) because we think it is in the best interest of our 'brand'."

egbertsouse's picture

Cris Carter has a right to believe and say anything he wants but why would the NFL have these 2 guys up there speaking to the young players? I mean, Warren freaking Sapp? Loudmouth, cheapshot artist, whore beater....what were they thinking? Next year are they going to have Lawrence Taylor and Ryan Leaf?

Why not a couple of the exemplary former players, Dungy for example?

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Jayme++

Tarynfor12's picture

Wait a second,am I to understand that there are some still that believe the words that come out of the mouths of those whose jobs are dictated by specific agendas and political correctness aren't taken with a grain of salt as to actual truth in the 'testimonies' they feel is our blessing to hear.

The 'NO MORE' commercial was nothing more than watching how these people,after practicing in a mirror,the technique of looking 'choked up' to appear like they really care.

WKUPackFan's picture

100% Correct!!

D.D. Driver's picture

Except there's a pretty huge difference (in my mind) between abusing women and children and getting caught with a bag of weed.

Just because Carter is telling players to have their fall guy take the rap for the bag of weed, doesn't mean that he is insincere when he speaks up against family violence.

Tarynfor12's picture

Carter endorsed a 'fall guy' thinking period.The magnitude of the crime committed isn't the issue though shouldn't be ignored,but his thinking was a cover all and wrong even if meant to separate types/levels of crime.

What's even more disparaging is how many idiots are there in this 'culture' that believe they should take the fall or are willing to do so.

This type of thinking does not help the growth of the black community but keeps it enclosed.Not only do you poison the fruit tree of growth,you condone devouring it at its earliest possible stage.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

"You're not guilty unless you are convicted." Current radio ad.

ray nichkee's picture

Was that a race reference? Please take that one back. It is not appropriate to throw that in there. Have some respect taryn.

Portland Mark's picture

Was CC on that boat cruise where those Viking players got in trouble?
While every team has its share of trouble makers or players who behave poorly, it seems to me that the Packers have always parted ways with such players. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Didn't they move Lofton and Chumura after off the field issues? Didn't they move Charles Martin after he cork screwed Jim McMahon into ground with an awful cheap shot?

D.D. Driver's picture

Ahman Green would be the counter example.

Bearmeat's picture

CC was retired by then I believe.

MarkinMadison's picture

Chumura herniated his C5/C6 disc in 1999 against the Lions. He never played again. The Packers released him in June of 2000, after charges had been filed. He tried to stage a comeback but further injured himself while working out and never played again. You're not wrong, but in my book I don't give the Packers any credit for cutting ties with him either. Given that every NFL team has a security guy on staff, I don't believe for a second that the Packers didn't know about the exploits of the Three Amigos for years, and chose to do nothing about it.

What's the difference between Rothlesburger and Chewy? Not much. They both appear to have gotten away with criminal acts, and they both appear to have moved on with their lives and cleaned themselves up. Good for them, but I probably wouldn't invite them to my daugthers' graduation parties. And just like the Steelers didn't cut ties with Rothlesburger, I don't assume the Packers would have cut ties with Chewy either, if there had been anything left in the tank.

sonomaca's picture

The unspoken truth here is that predominantly white NFL fans are uncomfortable with a certain dog-eat-dog black subculture. That's a tough circle to square, since many of the best players are of this subculture.

Tarynfor12's picture

This 'subculture' is what Cris Carter is talking about but on a grander scale..the 'dog-eat-dog' is the 'fall guy' for any crime committed in that particular culture mentality.The black players immediately upon arrival,have background stories on hand that set the stage as to why if/when they commit a crime and is offered as reason/excuse and should be forgiven because it is in their 'culture'.
Vick said he didn't know dog fighting was against the law but somehow knew he should do such in the woods,in a dark building,with blackened out windows to hide any light and prevent anyone from knowing the goings on inside.
Point is...one knows what is and isn't legal and a crime regardless of the 'culture' reared in and more so when looking back at it when on the outside of it.

ray nichkee's picture

He didnt know it was illegal, my ass. Do you believe that shit? We all do illegal things. I dont care if its an unbuckled seatbelt or keeping a fish 1/4" to small to have a meal. I assume he grew up in an environment where dog fighting is acceptable. Look into it more and think about what methods he used to kill dogs he was breeding because they were not good fighters.

That race stuff is bullshit. Stop it. There are good people everywhere and assholes everywhere. I have friends of all shapes, colors, sizes, etc. Vick earned his second chance and he has not ruined it so far. I accept that and i hope he keeps it up. Until people like you taryn shut your salty pissflaps this stuff will never end. I want to hear you defend warren sapps actions without 2/3 of your words being a waste of text.

ray nichkee's picture

Oh yeah taryn, i do agree the no more commercial was just nfl players paid to be actors. I could not buy a second of it. Just a media coverup designed by nfl public relations to counteract the ray rice fuck up. Its not that hard for me to talk about it.

Tarynfor12's picture

You need to reread what I wrote on the Vick stuff...comprehension seems to be lacking or you're automatic distaste for my opinions simply blind you to actual meaning.
Also in response to another reply by you as to why I mentioned race...it was the basic premise of what Borland's account of the Rookie Symposium and what Carter said and directing toward and what brought it to light.
You perceive that the mere mention of race makes a racist.I'm not a very politically correct person....I call it how I see it and I never cower to any agenda no matter the pressure being applied...I leave that to the cowards who allowed themselves to be walked on in public and bitch behind their closed doors to not be heard and labeled whatever.
I respect those who earn it and will not offer respect to those who do not no matter their race,color etc...period.

ray nichkee's picture

I said nothing about being racist. You are using race as an excuse for behavior. You sound like carter was ignoring the rest of the group. Go back and read my post. I reread yours and it clearly states vick did not know what he was doing illegal while prancing around with extra words that you do not need to use. To say i have an automatic distaste for you is pure bullshit. I do not troll your every comment. I even commented in agreement with one of your opinions on this thread. Keep your eyes parallel to the horizon when you post comments.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

"I reread yours and it clearly states vick did not know what he was doing illegal while prancing around with extra words that you do not need to use."

Um, no. Taryn is clear that Vick knew what he was doing was illegal. Ray, you must have misread it the first time, and then misread it again when you re-read her post. She is plainly indicating that Vick knew it was a crime because he knew enough to only brutalize animals in the woods in a dark building with no windows. Taryn is also perfectly clear when she wrote: "Point is... one know what is and isn't legal and a crime regardless of the 'culture' reared in...."

ray nichkee's picture

Ok, maybe you can be my translator, i read modern english and dont spend much time reading that crap. When you write it it makes more sence. Maybe you can translate for her in the language the rest of us use. I am not amused or impressed with her writing style, this is a sports site not a high class novel you read while sipping tea with your pinkie finger sticking out. Her writing style is worse than the lazy bastards that use textspeak.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I like her writing style, but I'd be the first to say I have to read it more than once fairly often to figure out her exact meaning, and sometimes I am not sure myself.

It is kind of like The Doors for me: when everything clicked for them they were great; when they didn't click (imo), I had to be in an altered state just to listen to them.

Spud Rapids's picture

The league of cover ups...

porupack's picture

Well done Jayme, great article and provoked a great discussion. I found myself agreeing to all sides of this argument. I especially enjoyed the civil exchange of disagreement. Thanks packer-fold.

olwig420's picture

Has anyone actually seen an entire start to end video of the speech that Chris and Warren gave? I would assume that this was 1 min of a 30 min speech in which they preached for 29 min on how to be a better person. But if you happen to find yourself making a bad decision, because plenty of them will no matter what any one says, what do you do when about to get caught? Think about it... your about to possibly loose millions of dollars and life as you know it.... what do you do?? Question goes out to everyone that says Chis is a horrible person.

Tarynfor12's picture

Big difference in going out and making a mistake at that moment and wondering what to do and pre-planning with a fall guy on hand to cover for the action you're likely looking to do...agenda.

olwig420's picture

True, but you can look to your friend that is in the car with you in the heat of the moment and ask if he would be willing to do it for a million dollars.. What advice should the NFL give these kids if they find them selves in the situation, just get caught and deal with it? That is not really advice that's basically saying nothing.

Tarynfor12's picture

Nothing beats the shucking of responsibility,right?

The very premise of learn from your mistakes and the price you pay apparently should be the crime...how sad.

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