You might think this is midsummer. Or the start of the second half of the baseball season. Or maybe the final push of the Tour de France.
Well, youd be wrong.
What this really is, friends, is NFL arrest season.
Its become an annual rite of July. After OTAs finish and before training camp approaches, cops get busy pulling over NFL players -- most of whom have decided to save the cab fare and slip behind the wheel when theyre drunk. Though sometimes they decide to do other stupid stuff, like beat up people -- including family members.
To be truthful, almost every month is NFL arrest season. But there seems to be a flurry of activity as players see the monotony and pain of training camp approaching.
Marshawn Lynch was arrested on Saturday night in Oakland for driving under the influence. He signed a 31 million contract in March, which means he probably could afford a car service. It was Lynchs third run-in with the law in just over four years.
Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was also arrested on Saturday, for domestic violence after allegedly attacking his mother. Reports say that Bryant grabbed his mother by the hair, ripped her shirt and slapped her face. Not exactly the stuff of a Campbells Chunky Soup commercial.
Other arrests include Adrian Peterson, who was charged with resisting arrest, rookie Justin Blackmon who was arrested on aggravated DUI -- three times the legal limit, Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil for road rage, Eagles running back Dion Lewis for falsely reporting a fire and Detroit defensive end Nick Fairley -- for the second time in two months -- for DUI.
And then theres the 49ers Aldon Smith, who got his DUI arrest out of the way early in the offseason, in January, but capped off a disturbing offseason by getting stabbed at a house party. Back in April Darrius Heyward Bey was arrested for a DUI.
There are so many NFL arrests that the San Diego Union Tribune has its own NFL arrest database, dating back to 2000. Plug in the name of your favorite player and see if hes been arrested and what the charges are. According to the database, 19 players have been arrested since Super Bowl Sunday to June 23rd, though theres a lot of updating to do in the past few weeks and that window doesnt include some 2012 arrests including Smiths.
So hows that whole new sheriff thing working out for you, Roger Goodell?
The NFL is Americas most popular sport, by far. Advertisers flock to it. Everyone wants to be associated with it. But the league is clearly doing an extremely poor job of educating and controlling its players especially when it comes to not getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. These ongoing arrests are an embarrassment to Commissioner Goodell and his get-tough policy. He has fined players, suspended players, but still the message isnt getting across.
Whats the solution? Longer training camps? Year-round contracts? Free car service for every player in the league? Mandatory classes on behaving like a mature adult?
The solution isnt obvious. But the NFL has the money and the resources to figure out some sort of solution to this ongoing, embarrassing problem.
In the meantime, be warned: its NFL arrest season. You might want to stay off the streets until training camp begins.
Freelance writer Ann Killion is a regular contributor to CSNBayArea.com and Chronicle Live.