ESPN’s Louis Riddick, a former NFL safety and executive, feels too many NFL players lack “awareness” of how they are perceived, and it’s hurting the game.
Riddick thinks players need to understand that the NFL business “is not failproof.”
Riddick believes the on-field fight between Oakland receiver Michael Crabtree and Denver cornerback Aqib Talib last Sunday, is an example of some players “lack of awareness” of how they are viewed. During the fight, Talib ripped off Crabtree’s gold chain. Both players will serve a one-game suspension.
“Players aren’t respecting one another right now,” Riddick said on ESPN. “They are lacking awareness of what is really going on in the league. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t say ‘judge me fairly and organically’ and then act like that, and expect people to not continue to advance stereotypes that you know are sitting out there and they are waiting to sling at you.”
Riddick, who played in the NFL from 1991-98 and worked as a scout after that, thinks that when he played, guys would never have behaved that way on the field.
“Look, players #1 don’t respect one another they way they used to in my generation when I was playing the game in the 90’s,” Riddick said. “You didn’t settle disputes with punk moves like trying to rip somebodies chain off and then brag about it on the sidelines. Things were a little different. You settled things between the lines. If (former NFL great) Ronnie Lott had a problem with somebody back in the day, I guarantee you he would try and knock his teeth out between the lines, not pull some chain off of his neck.”
Riddick thinks the highlight of Talib ripping off Crabtree’s chain, which has been played ad infinitum on sports highlight shows, is bad for the NFL.
“The optics were awful,” Riddick said. “They were awful.
With this sort or behavior, coupled with the anthem protests, players risk turning off some NFL fans and customers.
Riddick thinks it’s dangerous for players to live in a bubble and not be cognizant of the damage they might be doing to their industry.
“If players don’t start getting aware of what is going on, and how people are viewing them right now . . . if you think the NFL is keep going down the tracks, you are sadly mistaken,” Riddick said. “Look around you at what is happening. I think there are some owners out there trying to get this message across. Look, we understand individually and collectively what some players are fighting for, but understand also, this business is not fail-proof. It’s not. And I think this kind of behavior, it speaks to a lack of awareness that a lot of players have.”