Photo via The Miami Herald
Dolphins DT Gage Wright was cut following punches thrown at his own teammate.
My first reaction, as I’m sure was most people’s, was to say, “violence is never okay, too bad for him.” While the first part of that is true, the second part is not. Football is their livelihood. Football is their income. Football is how they take care of their families. After a year on the practice squad, Wright probably worked like crazy all off season to prove himself this year: to prove that he was good enough to make the 53 man roster. I mean, this is his job, and all of the sudden it is gone in an instant because of a 2 second lapse in judgement. Which let’s be honest we have all been there. Okay, maybe we haven’t punched someone, but we’re also not getting paid to literally bulldoze people over.
I don’t know much about Wright specifically, but we’ve seen this happen so many times to so many different athletes. A lot of us forget about whatever happened within a couple of days. But the repercussions for these athletes far exceed a week of disapproval. They are left lost and jobless. Who knows if they ever graduated from college, who knows if they are able to get a job, or even know where to begin. A lot of times they don’t. They have to start all over.
This thing they have worked their whole lives for is just taken from them in an instant. And that’s where you have to realize that it’s bigger than just a “thing” it’s a life.
Violence is never the answer, and I am not advocating for violence, or dismissing what happened. But that isn’t the end of the story here. Wright may never get an invitation to workout with another team, and then what? As much as athletes need to remember to conduct themselves as professionals, they are still human beings, and human beings screw up. This is the side of the NFL that is often missed and forgotten.
Life after football isn’t necessarily easy. Especially when it catches you off guard, your temper gets the best of you, and the lights go out. Literally.