Another day, another PR hit for the NFL.
Hall of Famer and ESPN NFL analyst Cris Carter advised prospects at the 2014 NFL Rookie Symposium to have a “fall guy in your crew” in case they ever got in trouble with the law. Carter spoke of the importance of having a fall guy, while Warren Sapp, also a Hall of Famer, told rookies that “we’ll get (the fall guy) out” if the person had to go to jail.
Wow. What do we make of all this?
“In all honestly, the first thing I thought was, ‘Well, who’s my fall guy in my fall group?’” former NFL quarterback and current CBSSports.com NFL analyst Brady Quinn joked on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “But no, look, how you say that to a group of young men (during a presentation) that you know will eventually go public – because there’s nothing the NFL does that doesn’t go public. I remember my draft year. Fortunately I could answer this question honestly, (but) they’d ask me if I’d ever done any drugs and I said no on camera. But they would tell you before you said this, ‘Oh, this is private. It won’t go anywhere.’ And then a bunch of these players got outed for telling them that they’d smoked marijuana before.
“So nothing the NFL does ever stays in house,” Quinn continued. “And of course Cris Carter is just trying to be honest with a lot of guys who probably come from a certain background where, look, they’re probably going to get in trouble and they probably have a group of guys – one in particular – who wants to fall on the sword for them. But that’s just not the message that I think the NFL wants to send.”
The video, which was archived on NFL.com, has been removed.
“I’m not sure which is worse: the fact that they had it up on their website for a year before (it was exposed) and then they take it down, or the fact that they would think that’s okay in the first place for him to say,” Quinn said. “Warren Sapp should have stood up there and said something next to him and said no man this is not what we want to be telling young men – to have a fall guy and try to push the blame elsewhere. That’s just a bad precedence, especially from a Hall of Fame-caliber guy. I understand he’s had issues and he’s rehabbed from that, but that can’t be the message you’re sending young men today.”
Quinn, 30, remembers Carter, 49, speaking at his own rookie symposium in 2007. Quinn was always a big fan of Carter. Both are Ohio natives, and Quinn’s high school coach also coached the former Buckeye great and eight-time Pro Bowler.
So there was a connection there – at least for Quinn.
But then Carter rubbed Quinn the wrong way.
“I was always a Cris Carter fan,” Quinn said, “but he brought up three wide receivers. I want to say one of them was Calvin Johnson. But he basically said, ‘How many stats did you have in college? What did you have in college? What did you have?’ He said, ‘Well, this is my career stats. You’d be lucky to have half of what I had. Go sit down.’ And it was like, look man, don’t squash these kids’ dreams. That’s what makes the NFL great is there’s that optimism every year. A new kid comes in. So even back then, the advice he was giving – I wasn’t really a fan of. So maybe they need to look at bringing someone else in to talk.”