Home Sports Football The Biggest NFL Controversies NOT Involving the Patriots (7 Photos)

The Biggest NFL Controversies NOT Involving the Patriots (7 Photos)

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Wherever the spotlight shines, drama will always be uncovered; in sports, showbiz, and anywhere there is a heavy media focus, misdoings will be uncovered, and the NFL is certainly no exception.

Scandals and controversies have rocked the league since its inception, some light-hearted stories have been uncovered, while 4-game recreational drug bans have become the norm in the modern-day league, though there are other cases of serious wrongdoing, resulting in arrests for violence, abuse and even murder.

The amount of controversy in the league isn’t even as shocking as it should be, as the formula of ‘young men + millions of dollars + fame = warning’ rings true with some of the stars guilty of various crimes.

This is not to suggest that all players are reckless and dangerous, with the vast, vast majority keeping their aggression on the pitch, and the top brass of each team keeping an eye on their own organisations, rather than looking over the shoulder of their rivals in search of a boost.

However, it is hard to deny the NFL has a dark side, and that it is prone to errors. They exist, and spring up all-too-often, so let us take a look at the biggest NFL controversies NOT involving the Patriots.

Redskins Team Name

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One ongoing controversy is the ever-simmering tension surrounding the Washington Redskins’ team name.

Over 20 Native American tribes and 50 groups representing the Native American people have officially demanded that the team change its name due to negative connotations suggesting that ‘Redskins’ is derogatory.

However, various national opinion polls suggest that the majority of the country – somewhere between 70-90% – do not mind the continued use of the name and logo. It is a battle that will surely keep on bubbling until either side gives way.


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Bounties (bonuses) are forbidden in the NFL, although players have retired and confirmed that those practices do occur. Players may be handed a bounty by their teams for achieving various goals that could include number of TDs, number of sacks, or in the Saints’ case, for injuring opponents.

In 2009, a particularly vicious game between the Saints and Ravens ended with the latter’s star legendary QB Brett Favre being knocked out of the game for a short time, while the tackles kept flying in.

Two years later, after investigations, it was found that the Saints paid players to smash targeted opponents out of the game. Head coach Sean Payton was banned for the entire 2012 season, while his assistants were handed shorter bans, and linebacker Jonathan Vilma was singled out as a key perpetrator and suspended for a season. The franchise was also fined $500,000 and stripped of some valuable draft picks.

NFL comissioner Roger Goodell’s decision obviously didn’t go down too well with the New Orleans’ public, as the dartboard might suggest…

The Janet Jackson And Justin Timberlake Half Time Show

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It didn’t affect the game of football, and nor was it the most dangerous atrocity caused by an NFL player, but Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s half-time show reigns supreme when it comes to infamy.

Super Bowl XXVIII’s half-time showcase is watched by millions around the nation, and worldwide, and during the rendition of Timberlake’s ‘Rock Your Body’ song, he ripped off part of Jackson’s costume, revealing more than many angry parents at home could handle.

Complaints and even lawsuits were brought against the broadcasting companies, while the NFL managed to avoid most of the heat from the scandal which gained recognition across the globe.

The Vikings’ Boat Party

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In 2005, 17 members of the Minnesota Vikings teams rented out a pair of houseboats to be moored on Lake Minnetonka, and filled them with friends and prostitutes. What could possibly go wrong?

Police were called to the scene later that night, to find all manner of carnage taking place on the boats, fuelled by ludicrous amounts of alcohol, while several players were also found urinating in a nearby front yard.

Many of the Vikings’ players were handed heavy fines and slapped with community service orders, though the real damage hit the Vikings name.

The Two Rays

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Both of the stories of these two men are entirely separate issues, though both brought the Baltimore Ravens organisation into disrepute following varying degrees of controversy.

Ray Lewis was dragged into a murder trial after being involved in a fight at the scene of a double-murder. He struck a deal with the court whereby the charges drawn against him were dropped in exchange for testimony against two other men at the scene, and Lewis was only handed a misdemeanour charge for a misleading statement he gave to police after the killings.

Seperately, in 2014, Ray Rice was caught on CCTV knocking his fiancee (now wife) unconscious after they returned from partying in a casino. Many felt his two-game suspension and $15,000 fine was not nearly strong enough from the NFL, while the criminal charges were dropped.

Both men tarnished the Ravens’ name, and their stories intertwined last year as Lewis – now an ESPN TV analyst – spoke about Rice’s case, saying: “Some things you can cover up, and then there’s some things you can’t.” Raising eyebrows across the nation…

Michael Vick’s Dog-Fighting Ring

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Michael Vick’s imprisonment sent ripples across the NFL, and demonstrated how rapidly a star player’s career can descend into farce if their attitude isn’t correct.

The 2001 Draft Overall Number 1 was sailing along with the Atlanta Falcons and an eye-watering $130 million contract – the highest in the NFL at the time – before he was charged with running and funding a dog-fighting circuit from within his own home.

He was sentenced to 23 months in jail for his ‘business’ which saw dogs shot, electrocuted or hung if they did not perform to a high standard in fights against other dogs from his kennels. Controversially, Vick was snapped up by the Eagles after his release, then the Jets, though he has never recaptured his form and is currently a free agent.

OJ Simpson Murder Trial

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The 1969 Draft Overall Number 1 pick OJ Simpson was a top running back, clawing his way into the NFL’s esteemed Hall Of Fame. He also enjoyed a long acting career, though his legacy will be for causing one of the largest media storms in history after being charged with the murder of his ex-wife and a waiter in 1992.

Simpson was due to hand himself over to the police, where over 1,000 reporters waited for him at the station, though he failed to show up, and instead led officers on a low-speed car chase, with a gun pointed at his own head.

He was acquitted of the brutal stabbings, after the trial cost around $40 million overall. 134 days were broadcast live in 1995, and it is estimated that it cost $480 million to the US economy as people stopped working, trading and generally functioning.

Bizarrely, Simpson was charged with numerous felonies in Las Vegas including gunpoint robbery in 2007. He was jailed for 33 years, giving America the justice that many felt hadn’t been served following the murder trial.

source - WhatCulture
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