Unethical Quote of the Month: NFL Hall of Famer Chris Carter

You tell it like it is, Chris!

You tell it like it is, Chris!

“Y’all not all going to do the right stuff, I got to teach y’all how to get around all this stuff, too. If you going to have a crew, one of those fools got to know he’s going to jail. We’ll get him out. If you going to have a crew, make sure they understand can’t nothing happen to you. Your name can’t be in lights, under no circumstances…In case y’all not going to decide to do the right thing, if y’all got a crew, you got to have a fall guy in the crew.” 

—NFL Hall of Famer Chris Carter, speaking to first year NFL players in a 2014 league-sponsored rookie symposium to help them “adapt to professional football.” His advice was then echoed by fellow Hall of Famer Warren Sapp.

That the NFL’s retired role models and immortals were–Have been? Still are?—giving out such toxic and unethical “wisdom” under the league’s auspices went unnoticed until a recently retired player,the 49ers’ Chris Borland who quit after just one season because he feared brain damage, referenced Carter’s speech on ESPN. Not only did the NFL’s speakers instruct its rookies to make sure they have a designated “fall guy” if they decide to break the law, it had Carter’s speech on its website all this time.

Now it’s all about damage control, of course. ESPN, which currently employs this ethics-challenged “sportsman” as an analyst, said in a statement…

“We completely disagree with Cris’s remarks and we have made that extremely clear to him. Those views were entirely his own and do not reflect our company’s point of view in any way.”

Carter’s comments do, however,reflect the prevailing culture of the NFL, which ESPN is so deeply in bed with that it can’t reach the pillow.

The NFL, for its part, said…

“This was an unfortunate and inappropriate comment made by Cris Carter during the 2014 NFC rookie symposium. The comment was not representative of the message of the symposium or any other league program. The league’s player engagement staff immediately expressed concern about the comment to Cris. The comment was not repeated in the 2014 AFC session or this year’s symposium.”

‘Buuuuut we decided to leave the video up on our website anyway, since it does accurately describe the completely corrupt and ethics-free culture of professional football, as anyone who paid attention to the last twelve months knows, because nobody in our offices knows good ethics from a corndog, and because we know our faithful fans don’t care if our players cheat, or slug their girlfriends, or beat their children with sticks, or take illegal drugs, or end up mentally crippled by the time they are 50. They just want to drink beer and eat chicken wings on Sunday afternoons, see men crush each other, drool at the cheerleaders and see their teams make the play-offs.”

Carter, of course, has no idea why he said those things, and just suddenly realized what was wrong a year later:

“Seeing that video has made me realize how wrong I was. I was brought there to educate young people and instead I gave them very bad advice. Every person should take responsibility for his own actions. I’m sorry and I truly regret what I said that day.”

Wait…no fall guy, Chris?

Just when you think you have reached the scummy bottom of the NFL’s ethical depravity, a new and darker pit yawns.


Sources: New York Post, Pro Football talk, SI

11 thoughts on “Unethical Quote of the Month: NFL Hall of Famer Chris Carter

  1. That’s what agents and advisers are for – not an NFL rep. NFL is just a carry over from the insular and protective atmosphere that prevails in college, but, like college, will sweep under the rug until some pesky investigation takes place.

  2. Well, Jack, you persuaded me to shun the NFL (and most American football in general), so, nowadays, I tend to ignore anything you post about the NFL or one of its “products.” Deflategate was the end of my road with the NFL.

  3. This is a ghetto culture problem. I don’t see white guys in the NFL running with their homies or their crew. It is interesting how many guys you see arrested for dope or guns in their cars and it invariably turns out the dope guns belong to some obscure “best friend.” Obviously, people are listening to Mr. Carter and Mr. Sapp. But I’m sure this is all a result of institutional racism.

  4. In all fairness, Jack, I want a ruling on Carter’s Apology on your Apology Scale.

    He admitted his comment was stupid. He apologized. He did not really equivocate. It does not appear coerced. He did not even try to defend it as a joke (which, given the way a number of players run afoul of the law, he could have said it was a tongue in cheek way of telling him they have to stay out of trouble).

    If you are going to call the quote unethical, fine (I agree that it is stupid advice). But, what do you make of the apology?


    • I assume its a #6: A forced or compelled version of 1-4, when the individual (or organization) apologizing knows that an apology is appropriate but would have avoided making one if he or she could have gotten away with it.

      Why do I assume this? Because what Carter said is signature significance. If he knew what was the matter with it, he wouldn’t have said it, and it wouldn’t have taken until now to apologize. That’s obviously how he thinks: it’s signature significance. That’s ghetto culture, as somebody commented (I could check, but I’m tired.)

      What he really was saying was: “Apparently some people are upset about what I said and ESPN said my job is toast if I don’t retract it and say I’m sorry, and the NFL is mad at me for getting it in more trouble, so somebody drafted this tweet.

      • What a great gloss. Exactamundo! Maybe you could get a job writing subtitles for ESPN or maybe all the networks, Jack.

        The really depressing thing is I used to think Chris Carter and Warren Sapp were pretty stand up guys. They struck me as being somewhat thoughtful and articulate. Maybe they just have great smiles and look good in a suit and tie. Depressing.

  5. Actually, if you’re going to be the leader of a criminal gang, this is exceptionally good advice. Not so good for the fall guy, of course. Better advice: Stay away from criminal gangs, criminal activity and criminals in general; get an education, get a job and lead a productive life. Oh, I forgot, he can’t…all white people are racist all the time and oppress minorities. What do you think, Dr. Carson?

  6. I think these guys view themselves as some sort of modern-day gladiators, and that criminality is an intrinsic part of who they are. But even Roman gladiators probably had a code of ethics. In 1993 a cemetery for gladiators was dug up in Turkey, and 67 of the remains were analyzed. One thing they found was that none of the gladiators had a wound in the back. Some other things were found, but it’s really not enough evidence to say they definitely had a written code, and that they were all honorable gentlemen in the entertainment industry. However, I doubt that they prowled around Rome in crews. I just can’t picture that.

    Anyway, what Carter said comes straight out of the ghetto, as someone said above. It was part of him before he ever joined the NFL. These guys bring the ghetto into the NFL with them, and teams don’t hire on the basis of personal ethics. If the NFL is to change for the better, It would have to somehow separate the ghetto from the player. Or change the ghetto. It’s not going to happen, and we will probably never reach that scummy bottom of NFL ethical depravity.

    It would be interesting to know which players were raised with a father in the home and which weren’t. It could be telling.

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