Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips got on his blog horse about athletes being targeted by criminals and dealing with general thuggery (“Athletes under the gun”).
Phillips makes a few good points. We are seeing more and more athletes being the victim of a crime, such as Sean Taylor. However, I don’t think bringing media attention to this phenomenon will have a snowball effect leading to more crimes against pro athletes.
The bottom line is this: athletes are likened to celebrities and have to accept the trials and tribulations that come with their paycheck. Of course this attention should never beget any kind of crime against an athlete, but these days it appears to be an unfortunate side effect of fame and fortune. I don’t want to sound overly cynical, but this growing epidemic of violence geared toward athletes doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.
The following has nothing to do with Shaun Phillips, but more often that not the blame rests with the individual in question. There are some pro athletes who have a shady to questionable past then receive a windfall of money and attention. They fail to shed former partners in crime, if you will, and their past invariably catches up with them. Many players run with an entourage, some of whom might be armed. It’s a recipe for disaster. Players across any sport would be wise to remember: you’re only as successful as those around you.