November, 14, 2019. 16 seconds remaining in a dull NFL game. Browns vs. Steelers. 3rd-and-29 Steelers losing 21-7 with no hope of a comeback. The Steelers’ quarterback, Mason Rudolph, attempted to throw a screen pass but Myles Garret played through his block. In an instant, Rudolph was on the ground. Chaos ensued. Garrett yanked Rudolph’s helmet directly off his head and abruptly clubbed him over the head with it. Players from both teams attempted to intervene while mild punches were thrown. Due to protocol, the NFL suspended Garrett indefinitely.
Even though they had history with each other, that does not justify Mr. Garrett’s actions. Despite the suspension, Myles Garrett did not receive any charges or arrests for assault, something that he would have faced if the situation went down anywhere but a football field.
There are many cases where famous or 5-star athletes get let off the hook for offenses that if an average person committed it would be treated more seriously. Oftentimes, not just the judicial system, but the media and society over-look these erroneous actions because we idolize these athletes and we don’t identify them as real people who can do wrong. Athletes on the other hand, ride the wave of injustice and see their own crimes as small actions. Myles Garret says in a press interview, “Me, the Browns and my teammates are going to look past that and go on to great success and that will just be a small bump in the road.” Garrett saying that statement implies that he easily over-looks the incident where he put his career, reputation, and himself and others physical health at stake. Athletes shouldn’t be allowed to have the idea that their actions don’t cause others harm.
There have been a plethora of sexual assault cases caused by college athletes alone. A survey conducted by D1 schools shows that, “Male student-athletes make up 3% of the population on college campuses, they account for 20% of sexual assaults and 35% of domestic assaults on college campuses. Athletes commit one in three college sexual assaults. The general population has a conviction rate of 80% for sexual assaults, while the rate for athletes is only 38%.” Universities are too worried to lose their spot in a bracket than to confront and punish their athletes. People are getting hurt at the fault of unrecognized misconduct. This cannot go on longer. As a society we need to change our collective mindset to stop letting athletes be held to a lower standard just because of their status. Sometimes if we need to fix a problem, we have to all change for the benefit of our future.