While perusing the sports page in another periodical, I spotted an article that sent me on one of my mental road trips. The behavior of athletes is a subject of great interest to me, and any time I find something I think is newsworthy, I try to throw my slant on the subject.

Every one of us has fantasized over the things we could accomplish with the kind of bucks these millionaire athletes are making. However, there seems to be a mixed bag of personalities involved and a different approach to appreciating the good fortunes that have come their way.

There is a basket of bad apples with different degrees of bad behavior. The mild ones are guys like Randy Moss who is talented, but doesn’t mind pulling out his selfish streak when he thinks things aren’t going the way he wants.

Terrell Owens has had more jobs than Elizabeth Taylor had husbands. He will show up, give a smiling press conference, play world beating football for half a season and then reveal his displeasure over the treatment he is getting. He has ticked off so many teams that he was a heartbeat from being out of football. Hopefully, he got the message that enough is enough.

Chad Ochocinco (Johnson), TO’s partner in crime, was close to following the same path until coach Marvin Lewis made it clear that he would not be traded and the bench may be a good place for him to get his head together. Chad got the message.

Moving to the next step, we find Adam ‘Pac Man’ Jones who was creating whispers that he may be the best cover corner since Deion Sanders retired. Pac Man ran afoul of the law and the league. After serving his suspension and uttering a few “mea culpas,” Pac Man was reinstated. It didn’t take long for him to show that he couldn’t keep his nose clean, and now he is sitting somewhere wondering why he threw away all of that money. Being injured isn’t the best way to extend a career when all eyes are on you waiting for you to fail.

Tank Johnson had the law interested in him for weapons possession, and because he was an integral part of the Super Bowl bound Chicago Bears, a judge set his trial date for after the Super Bowl. Tank was headed for a break when a raid on his house discovered that he had enough weapons to arm the Illinois militia.

There are a few others who fit the mold of wife beaters and substance abusers, and more than a few bad apples in this barrel. But, these bad actors are just the squeaky wheels of the NFL, not the face of the organization.

On the other side of this coin are players like Tony Romo of the Cowboys. Romo was returning home after a game where he had to take his body to the shop for a few repairs. He passed an elderly couple stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire. Tony cinched up his bandages, hopped out of his car and changed the tire.

Two of the most ferocious defensive players of modern times are Reggie White and Ray Lewis. Reggie seemed meek and mild when faced, but when the whistle blew he would tear your heart out. Ray, on the other hand, seemed to stop just short of frothing at the mouth, and opposing players quaked in their boots when he took the field. But, when the game was over, each would pick up his Bible and prepare to give spiritual guidance where it was needed.

Redskins linebacker Rocky McIntosh leads a violent life on the football field. He leads the team in tackles and has the reputation of being a prankster. What the public doesn’t see is his low profile approach to life. Rocky graduated from the University of Miami, majoring in criminology and English. He is currently pursuing African American studies at the University of Pennsylvania and at Harvard Business School.

So, when confronted with the antics of some of the bad actors, remember these guys and say to yourself, “It ain’t all bad.”

Tim Lacy

Special to the AFRO