It's been well-documented that Kansas City Chiefs' linebacker, Mike Vrabel, was arrested Monday morning for alleged theft in a casino in Indiana. Now there are a lot of questions that arise from the arrest. Why was Vrabel in Indiana? Why would a millionaire supposedly steal beer? Why would a guy need 8 beers? All those questions aside, the biggest question is this. How will the public view the latest of many player arrests since the lockout.
If you missed it, you can read Mike Florio's post on Vrabel here. Here's the quick run-through of what Florio reported yesterday. Vrabel was arrested at the Belterra Casino in Florence, IN. It was later reported by Florio that Vrabel had allegedly walked out of a deli with 8 bottles of beer without paying. He was arrested for the alleged theft, which is a class D felony in the state of Indiana.
Other than Vrabel, Louis Murphy, Aqib Talib, Laurence Maroney, Chris Cook, Jason Peters, Mario Henderson, Bryan McCann, and Johnny Jolly have all been arrested on various allegations. In case you weren't counting, that's 9 players. Vrabel is by far the most notable of those arrested. Vrabel is one of the named plaintiffs in the Tom Brady antitrust case against the NFL as well as a member of the NFLPA Executive Committee.
It is likely that the case against Vrabel will be resolved without a trial. The court of public opinion, however; isn't likely to be as forgiving. The problem for me doesn't lie in whether or not he actually stole anything. At this point, Vrabel only allegedly stole the beer. Nothing has been proven, but it troubles me that players continue to put themselves into bad situations.
I'm not condemning Vrabel as a bad person here at all. In fact, I've never heard of him having any problems before this incident. I do, however, think that players have to be more careful, especially during the lockout. Tomorrow, a hearing will decide whether or not the NFLPA's decertification was valid. If the owners are able to win that hearing, it would force the NFLPA back to the bargaining table. At this point, I would not be surprised if a long, drug out stalemate ensued. The NFLPA can't afford to lose the public's support. At this point, it's the rich fighting with the richer. Many people, myself included, are pissed off that they can't find a way to divide about 9 billion dollars.
If players continue to get arrested, the NFLPA will lose any public support they have. I feel like the general public has no allegiance at this point, but if the public begins thinking that the players aren't completely honest, public opinion could sway to the side of the owners. That would potentially take away any bargaining chips the NFLPA has left.