These are the wise words of a high school student who answered the question, "Should pro athletes be considered role models?"
While people in the media continue to place blame on the NFL, advocating zero-tolerance policies of any possible alleged violent conduct (which is inherently flawed due to the nature of the sport), this student seems to understand the situation more than her counterparts.
Of course, she's right. Parents likely have the most influence in a child's life; as does the child's friends and teachers. And the parent of the child was likely influenced by his or her parents, friends, and teachers. It's a cycle that continues on and on (sometimes for the better and sometimes not).
However, while parents have a great deal of direct influence in a child's life, the greatest indirect influence is likely the government - the people in charge of domestic and foreign policy.
Politicians (and courts) contribute to inflation, the business cycle, unemployment, wars, etc. Police officers (and jails) contribute to racism, crime, degradation of families, etc. Teachers (and schools) influence behavior, bullying, cynicism, destruction of critical thinking, etc. Of course, these groups may not intend to cause damage, but it is often a negative consequence of our democratic, criminal, and educational systems.
So, where is/was the hatred of politicians who commit "bad" or "harmful" conduct? Most presidents, including Obama, Bush, Kennedy, consumed illegal drugs one time or another. This is a list of American state and local politicians who were convicted of crimes while in office (thus, the list does not include scandals or arrests that have not led to convictions; neither does it include crimes that occurred before taking office). Are these good role models? While I may focus on the differences between crimes and vices, would these politicians pass the new NFL standard?
Unfortunately, finding the statistics of current serving police officers with a criminal history is nearly impossible. Police have historically participated in drug trafficking, assaults, and batteries. In the United Kingdom, almost 1,000 officers with convictions from drug dealing are still active police officers. Are police who commit stop and frisks on a daily basis of individuals simply because of their color suffice as good role models? What about police officers who murder dogs when they execute an illegal (or at least should be) warrant? Are these good role models?
Finding statistics for teachers with criminal records proved difficult as well. Of course, there are the occasional female (and male) teachers caught having sex with their students. In Iowa, of the 443 driver's ed instructors, three have DUI convictions, two have assault convictions, and four have 12 or more other convictions. In New Hampshire, a teacher was recently arrested for allegedly assaulting a student. Even with knowledge that he was to be arrested, the school continued to allow the teacher to work. In the United Kingdom (for some reason, these are the only statistics I'm finding), 100 headteachers, 800 teachers, and 600 teaching assistants were found to have previous convictions but are still serving in their educational capacities. Should a teacher who committed a theft five years ago be in "charge" of a classroom? Should a teacher who has sex with their students be responsible for disciplining students? Would these teachers pass the NFL standard?
While I remain completely intrigued of why it is so difficult to find statistics for all three of the above groups, it can be without any doubt that there are politicians, police officers, and teachers currently serving in their capacities who have some type of criminal record.
Maybe the lack of statistics is due to unions, who have the legal duty to advocate for their members rather than the public; maybe it's laws that prohibit sharing this information. I don't know. But regardless, people in positions of influence and power - in contrast to NFL football players - have committed crimes in the past and yet continue to wield their influence and power over others.
Violence is bad. No doubt about it. But it's worse - to a higher degree - when initiated by someone who holds power and influence over others. Especially when it is the State who supposedly represents the "common good."