The doghouse

Ian Taylor, Sports Editor

Larry being Larry

Larry Johnson, a former Kansas City Chiefs star and Penn State first round selection, much maligned throughout his career as a professional, finds himself once again in the headlines — for all the wrong reasons.

This time Johnson has been accused of aggravated battery charges that involve a nightclub, a fight and Johnson, factors that could be considered the man’s modus operandi.

But, to throw a wrench into this scenario, Johnson is alleged to have struck another patron with a broken bottle. That’s a scary twist to a less than shocking story, since he carries a suitcase full of previous actions baggage everywhere he goes.

Johnson has had a long history of a short fuse. Incidents involving violence go back to his days as a Nittany Lion, but as with many professional athletes, it was assumed that once he received the paycheck with six figures on it, he would avoid the negatively tainted limelight—the black light, so to speak.

But unlike most of his counterparts, Johnson seemed to view his level of celebrity as an excuse to do whatever he wanted, the worst case scenario and one that led him down a path to the less gainful field of unemployment.

He has released a statement regarding his most recent transgression, claiming that “at the end of the day, when the truth comes out, the allegations that have been made against me will be shown to be completely untrue.” In many cases, that is a plausible outcome, but does Johnson get that benefit of the doubt?

With the current standing of the league that paid this man to play football in utter peril, we have yet another glaring reminder of the underbelly of these locker rooms, yet another example of larger than life figures making the smallest minded decisions.

For me, it shows yet again that the “No Fun League” has much more important issues to worry about—impactful issues, not to flag Husain Abdullah for praying in the end zone after a pick-six.

How about we put some more emphasis on the fact that playing in the NFL is a privilege, one that demands that players have to face more stringent regulations before they can enter the “career field to heaven?”

Maybe, just maybe, we should focus more on leadership qualities and test scores for these soon- to-be role models a little bit more than 40 yard dash times.

After many years of watching sports, there are some things you become numb to — the big hits and the bright lights, the foul language and the on field fights, but as these issues are highlighted for the umpteenth time I suggest we not turn a blind eye. Because chances are, there will be a left hook coming.