INDIANAPOLIS – With over a decade of experience in the league, Reggie Wayne’s words carry a lot of weight when it comes to major issues that surround professional football in general.
A few hours before Roger Goodell had a wide-ranging news conference on the off the field issues surrounding the NFL the last month, Wayne spoke about the league during his weekly availability.
He was first asked about his opinions about the recent situations surrounding the league and Wayne was direct with his answer.
“Obviously it’s something that we wish to avoid. We all know what’s been transpiring the last couple of weeks and it’s been kind of a black eye,” said Wayne. “I guess we’ll listen to his message and just pray that we all stay out of some kind of confrontation. The only thing I can do is continue to do my part here in this locker room and lead by an example, and hopefully guys just follow my lead.”
Most of the chatter has concerned the initial response by the NFL to Ray Rice’s domestic violence incident in Atlantic City in which video shows him striking his then-fiance in an elevator. Initially the league gave the Ravens running back a two-game suspension but when new video of the incident surfaced the ban was made indefinite.
Last week Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was indicted by a Montgomery, Texas grand jury of reckless or negligent injury to a child in reference to an incident with his four-year old son. Photos later surfaced of his son following the incident and Peterson didn’t play in the Vikings’ home opener against the Patriots. Peterson will be out again this week.
When asked about what he thinks when he sees stories about Peterson, Wayne said: “That it’s not allowed in the Wayne’s household. One thing you can’t do, you can’t question what other people do or what they’re going through. The only thing you can do is just better yourself. You can use what they’re going through as an example.
“It’s not something that you would wish upon anybody and it’s not an example that you would be excited to follow or use an example I should say. But 87 don’t have no worries about any of that. We have a strong, strong grip on what goes on in our household. So far so good, hopefully we can keep it that way.”
Wayne has been doing so with the Colts since the 2001 season as his 14-years of experience make him one of the most tenured players in the league. Whether football fans or not, many around the country have been sharing their opinions on the league as a whole.
While acknowledging that these incidents have been a “black eye” for the league, Wayne hopes that not all players will be judged by the acts of a few.
“You listen to what people say about it outside of the NFL, it’s almost like they’re stereotyping everybody. They’re putting everybody in the same boat, and so that’s not fair,” said Wayne when asked if it bothered him that the NFL had taken a hit in terms of it’s reputation. “There are some great people in this locker room, whether it’s husbands, or boyfriends, or fathers. Not everybody is doing all the negative stuff. The black eye the league is getting, and this is all in my opinion, is not fair that everybody’s brought to that same category.
“In due time, wounds will heal, so hopefully the NFL can kind of get a get grip on everything and all the players can get a grip on whatever the rules are. Put some ice on this black eye and let it heal up a little bit.”