The NFL just took another ugly hit.
The league has had to deal with a number of bad headlines in recent years.
And now the NFL has to deal with a crime rarely seen in professional sports.
One Scandal After Another
The NFL continues to deal with the anti-American Anthem protests.
Millions of fans have turned away from the game.
Attendance dropped all around the league. TV ratings and advertising dollars shrank.
People don’t want to see privileged millionaires disrespecting the American flag.
One of the worst moments of the protests happened when Kansas City Chiefs players protested the anthem after the Las Vegas shooting.
Those players thought it was a good idea to protest the police while first responders dealt with the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
The NFL has also had a hard time with concussions.
Hollywood even made a big film detailing the problems of head injuries.
Another issue that plagues the NFL is domestic violence. The case of Ray Rice beating up his fiancée on camera was a terrible ordeal.
An Unusual NFL Crime
Substance abuse issues are also not uncommon.
However, one crime that’s foreign to the NFL is insider trading.
Cleveland Browns linebacker Mychal Kendricks pled guilty to financial crime.
He exchanged game tickets and other perks for illegal trading information.
Kendricks said in a statement, “I would like to apologize…Four years ago, I participated in insider trading, and I deeply regret it. I invested money with a former friend of mine who I thought I could trust and who I greatly admired.”
The friend in question is Damilare Sonoiki, an investment banker and former writer on the television show “Black-ish.”
Kendricks continued, “His background as a Harvard graduate and an employee of Goldman Sachs gave me a false sense of confidence.”
Kendricks and Sonoiki communicated in code over several years. He continued, “I was drawn in by the allure of being more than just a football player.”
It’s not unusual for players to fall for bad investment deals. Some players even fall into a life of crime.
In perhaps the most notorious case, former Rams cornerback Darryl Henley operated a cocaine ring. He received 41 years in prison for conspiring to kill a judge.
Kendricks also said, “While I didn’t fully understand all of the details of the illegal trades, I knew it was wrong, and I wholeheartedly regret my actions.”
Kendricks claims he didn’t profit from the trades, but plans to pay back the money.
Cleveland Can’t Catch A Break
The Cleveland Browns have been a punching bag for a long time.
The organization stood for greatness in the Jim Brown era.
But lately, they’ve been a laughing stock.
Over the past two seasons, their record is 1-31.
With the first pick in the 2018 draft, the Browns made a head-scratching choice that could come back to haunt them.
Now the Browns have to deal with Kendrick’s mess.
Kendricks was a former second-round pick and is expecting to help Cleveland’s defense.
But he will surely be facing a suspension.
The only question is how long.
The NFL knows how to deal with other types of crimes. But what is the league punishment for insider trading?
This is a headache the NFL certainly didn’t want.
If the league is soft on Kendricks, it sends a bad message.
If commissioner Roger Goodell hits him hard, those who criticize him for not being hard enough on domestic abusers will lash out.
Meanwhile, Goodell still has to deal with the anti-American anthem protests that won’t go away.