Rolando McClain: Oakland Raiders LB Is Active, Shows What’s Wrong in Pro Sports

It’s pretty awesome to be a professional athlete. They can seemingly get away with anything. Their near-invincibility is demonstrated in the blissful opportunities that would never fall in the laps of us ordinary citizens.

One day, you’re hanging with some friends when, alarmingly, you point a gun at one of their heads and fire a round away from but next to his ear. You’re arrested on several misdemeanor counts, including assault, menacing and reckless endangerment.

Fortunately, a few days later, Rolando McClain's employer, the Oakland Raiders, forgivingly allowed him to play in their game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. To some surprise, the Raiders did not publicly reprimand McClain, though he has not been formally convicted of anything as of yet. Arraignment is scheduled for January 24th of next year.

Though interpreted as a sign of support and solidarity that was meant to not derail the cohesion of the Oakland Raiders under first-year head coach Hue Jackson, McClain’s non-absence was deemed too lenient by many around the league. Moreover, when regarding anybody’s employee-employer relationship, the generous handling of McClain was simply another unfair example of what it’s like to be a pro athlete.

True, in this instance, McClain has not been judged to have done anything wrong. But that non-guilt belies his innocence. Furthermore, the whole incident itself underlies a problem in the sports world. Even if you are convicted of a crime, don’t worry—you’ll be back at work shortly.

Can you imagine a situation where us civilians have an important upcoming assignment for our respective jobs and neglectfully brandish a gun a few days prior? Think of an advertising executive preparing a sales pitch to a potentially huge client, only to fire a weapon in somebody’s direction a couple days prior to that meeting. Or a lawyer working hard all week on a...

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