Thursday, October 20, 2005

Men Behaving Badly

In the NFL:

Ken Hamlin was on his back on a street corner, knocked down by a punch that the Seahawks football player probably never saw coming.

He was being pummeled while he lay unconscious as a security guard working outside Larry's Nightclub and Seahawks teammate Rocky Bernard ran to his aid.

As bad as Hamlin's injuries were after the altercation early Monday morning, it could have been much worse, an interview with the security worker revealed.

"A person was like, 'I'll shoot the whole block up,' " said the security worker, who described the scene on the condition that he not be identified. "I'm like, 'Yo, just leave.' I couldn't make out who that person was ... I definitely didn't see no gun, but when he said 'gun,' (everyone) dispersed."

....Hamlin, 24, was moved out of the intensive-care unit of Harborview Medical Center on Wednesday, but remains at the hospital. He suffered a fractured skull and a cerebral bruising in the fight outside the Pioneer Square nightclub.

....The man who struck Hamlin was identified as Terrell Milam by Milam's younger brother, Tramaine Isabell, who was not in Pioneer Square but who later saw security video footage and identified Milam as Hamlin's assailant.

Milam was found dead at Seward Park about three hours after the Pioneer Square altercation, the result of gunshot wounds.

And, in the NBA:

Kelly Davis thought working undercover narcotics on the west side of Chicago was high-stress employment. Then he spent four years as Dennis Rodman's bodyguard.

Then he really saw it all.

Already a police officer, Davis learned the delicate art of diffusing tension and keeping Rodman out of headlines. He learned that high-profile athletes often need to be protected from the public and themselves.

....Every time there's an off-the-field incident, there's a debate about how much professional sports leagues can control their players' private lives. There are clauses in NFL contracts that stipulate no basketball and no motorcycle riding, but none that stipulate no nightclubs.

The NFL brings its rookies together for a four-day symposium before the season starts. Davis said that's not nearly long enough to teach the right behavior.

....Davis wonders who is watching over athletes while the world is watching them. He wonders why athletes insure their homes, their cars, their jewelry, but not their safety.

...."These situations are going to happen over and over again until the NBA or NFL address it," Davis said. "I hope it never comes to this, but we're getting real close. Someone is going to get killed out there. I went to NFL teams. I went to NBA teams. Everyone seems to turn a blind eye and say, 'We don't need it.' "

....The bottom line, Davis said, is that athletes are not conventional people. That they cannot be treated as such. He said that teams need to "reinforce, reinforce, reinforce" correct behavior, and sometimes, especially in the case of a player with a history like Hamlin, they need to "make decisions for their players."

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