Viewpoint: Athletes Behaving Badly

Lately, the National Football League has had its share of problems dealing with players carrying and misusing handguns. 
A few days ago Southern Miss star running back Damien Fletcher was charged with allegedly firing a handgun numerous times inside the city limits just a few blocks off campus at the apartment complex that houses a number of USM athletes.
 
Look I enjoy guns and shooting sport, but for crying out loud, in town is not the place to be firing guns in the air or otherwise. It is dangerous and irresponsible. 
While Damien probably had no ill intent in mind, and boys will be boys, he needs to learn that something like this can potentially ruin his life and career. No matter how talented he may be, if found guilty, NFL teams will almost certainly take into account his irresponsible gun play and arrest record when draft time comes around. He will be a senior next year.
 
Most likely, if he owns up to it, he will issue some sort of apology. Like most athletes or other folks in the public eye when they get caught in an ill-advised activity whether it is fighting dogs, taking steroids, or the irresponsible use of firearms, we are expected to say, "Well, that’s OK.:'  But the question is whether he has really realized the error of the mind set that lead to his behavior to the point that he will keep his nose clean from here on out. Hopefully so. Time will tell.
 
While discharging a firearm in the city limits is a misdemeanor, had he been just a few blocks east on campus, it would have been a felony. That would have been even harder to get by.
 
We hope this is a lesson, not only to athletes, but to all young people to behave at all times as though their future depends on it. After all, well may.
 
I’m Jim Cameron, let us hear from you. 
Email Jim Cameron at jcameron@wdam.com