In the modern era of sports, we know a lot more about athletes than just their stats. Through social media and the numerous articles that we can find online, we can know so much about an athlete that it almost seems as though we know them personally.

Between knowing about Rob Gronkowski’s party boat and his party house, to knowing what exactly is in Tyler Seguin’s lost and found closet, we get an inside glimpse into an athlete’s personality, and that might sway how we view them overall. So, this week we dared to ask the question: Does an athlete’s behavior in their personal life impact how we talk about their professional life?

Erik Helm

I find this question to be pertinent today more than ever, given protests from athletes recently in light of President Donald Trump’s comments on the NFL. And the short answer, for me at least, is no we should not.

That is not to say that their athletic abilities should cloud our judgments of their personality and character, and that is not to say that we should be okay with a sports team hiring an athlete who has a history with the law. But when it comes to judging an athlete’s ability to play the game, their personal lives are not important. In terms of the NFL’s protest, people are calling for their firing because they believe the athletes are being disrespectful to the nation, flag, army, etc.

But your political beliefs misaligning with those of your boss is not a fireable offense. Instead, we as an audience and the front office of the NFL should look at their actions as a chance to open a dialogue and look to improve our society. I concede their way of protesting can come across as disrespectful, but sometimes to make an omelet you have to break a couple eggs.

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Alex Fishkind

In a modern-day world seemingly run by social media, the athletes that we once adored and idolized have become bait for scrutiny and shaming.

Just as the celebrities of Hollywood and Los Angeles are followed by paparazzi relentlessly day and night, athletes of every sport are under a magnifying glass, with every move — or lack thereof — subject to criticism and critique. Athletes are paid to do what they are great at –play their respective sport at a level unattainable by 99 percent of the population.

It is time for people to stop condemning athletes for their behavior or choices off the field, and start focusing on their athletic abilities. It should go without saying that if an athlete breaks a law or does a disservice to society, that is unacceptable, but to denounce them because they did not go to a children’s hospital, or donate half of their salary to charity is completely ludicrous.

Athletes get paid to play, and while giving back to the community is nice of them, it is not something that fans should require or tweet about if they choose not to.

Daniel Yun

Without a doubt, yes. There should be no debate.

An athlete with poor behavior is a huge liability for a team even if the athlete was the best in his/her craft. Look no further than Johnny Manziel.

Manziel was a highly touted quarterback from Texas A&M who was the first ever to win the Heisman Trophy (Best Collegiate Football Player) as a freshman. Drafted 22nd overall by the Cleveland Browns in 2014, Manziel’s future looked bright.

However, Manziel’s habit of partying too hard in college went with him to the NFL. Coaches reported frustration when he didn’t report to practice because he partied too hard in Las
Vegas. Eventually, Manziel’s low commitment to the team led to his downfall. In 2016, after being issued a four-game suspension due to substance abuse, domestic assault allegations and his struggling football performance, Manziel was dropped from the Brown’s roster.

Players like Johnny Manziel are the reason why many professional teams are wary of signing players who conduct questionable behavior outside of games, despite their talent in the game.

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Kristen Larson

Honestly, this question is the reason why I will say that Peyton Manning is leagues better than Tom Brady.

On the one hand, you have a quarterback who spends a large part of his life helping young players to develop their skills, writes back to all the fan letters he gets, and gives a helping hand to whomever is in need whenever he can. On the other hand, you have someone who is married to a former Victoria’s Secret model?

When you have someone like Manning, who was not only an impeccable quarterback but also a great human being, it really sucks to put him in the same league as Brady. Sure Brady’s record is just as good as Manning’s, but Brady’s attitude definitely knocks him several levels below someone like Manning.

I think that if we are willing to buy the jerseys and have our kids look up to these players, we should be willing to stand behind their behavior. I think that this is something that comes with being a public figure, and it isn’t as though athletes are the only ones that have to manage this pressure.

What do you think? Email your opinions to [email protected] for a chance to get published next week.