NFL players show us every week why they’re considered some of the best competitors in the world. Incredible speed, size, agility, and strength are hard to find in one package. But when you have all of those attributes, you’re no dime a dozen in this league. Performance on the field matters, but so do your actions off the field.
In light of the whole bullying incident surrounding Miami Dolphins offensive linemen Ritchie Incognito and Jonathan Martin, it’s becoming apparent that more teams are making player acquisitions based upon their character as much as their abilities. Incognito’s problems date all the way back to 2002, more than a decade before he sent racist text messages and alleged voice-mail death threats to Martin. And even though NFL general managers are increasingly taking it upon themselves to condemn bad behavior, the league itself has a history of being at the center of serious controversies — whether they involve a player, a coach, or an entire team.
Over the years, we’ve seen the NFL connected to scandals involving the violation of strict league rules as well as horrific crimes. And although there have been so many, let’s take a look five of the biggest scandals to hit the NFL in recent years.