I have watched the Cris Carter NFL rookie symposium video spreading around the internet several times now, and while I really don’t want to pile on, I also cannot find any value or merit in a Hall of Fame player telling rookies to “find a fall guy” if you get in trouble. Carter’s advice is especially troubling to parents everywhere, as most would likely agree that teaching young people to find sneaky ways out of self-created problems is unhealthy, irresponsible, and not good for anyone involved.
Would Carter really suggest to his own kids to pin the blame on someone else, even if it meant that other person would go to jail because of actions his own child committed? Carter has since apologized for the bad advice he gave attendees of his talk that day, but were his original comments more representative of a Freudian slip than a simple error in judgement? And is his apology genuine, or nothing more than an attempt to keep his job at ESPN?
Cris Carter is a very recognized and influential sports figure that millions of young athletes look up to and admire. Carter also knows better than anyone that with the platform he has through the NFL and ESPN comes great responsibility, especially as this applies to decision-making and embracing the status of “role model” that athletes are ascribed.
Nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes, but there is little room for error when suggesting that people purposely and methodically skirt the consequences of their own shortsighted actions by pinning the blame on others. I suspect former NFL player Chris Borland wasn’t the only player in the room that day astonished by the advice he was being given, at least we hope not.
So where does the story go from here? Carter has apologized, but for me personally I would like to hear more about how he arrived at that advice in the first place? After all, it wasn’t just a quick knee-jerk sound byte, but actually more of a rant, prompting me to believe there is a deeper belief Carter holds when it comes to athletes and their transgressions off the field.
It’s also puzzling how the NFL allowed the video in question to remain on the NFL website for over a year? From the NFL league stand point, this is yet another black eye relating to how the league views and advises players when it comes to issues off the field. “If you’re going to have a crew and get in trouble, make sure someone else is ready to take the fall” isn’t good advice to anyone, and certainly doesn’t help the NFL’s image when one of your most recognizable ambassadors (Carter) is sending the message.