LOOK. We didn’t think it would be that hard in theory: create a fantasy football team of players, who could yes, still win, but who don’t have violent pasts or a history of being abusive toward women.
On Thursday the NFL announced that it would impose harsher punishments for players who commit domestic violence. This comes after Josh Gordon was suspended for a season for hitting a blunt. To put that in context, Ray Rice got suspended for two games for hitting a woman.
In February of this year the NFL and NFL Commissioner Ray Goodell was criticized after only giving Baltimore Raven’s running back Rice a two-game suspension after he was caught on surveillance footage dragging his unconscious then-fiance, now wife, out of an elevator in Atlantic City. Defending his decision, Goodell was quoted as saying, “I think it’s important to understand that this is a young man who made a terrible mistake.” In 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was suspended only four games after being accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old college student.
In a letter obtained by USA TODAY Sports penned by Goodell addressing the more serious stance the NFL will take in response to domestic violence issues can be found here. It couldn’t have come soon enough. But for those of you drafting a Fantasy Football team having trouble swallowing certain players’ “mistakes,” we’ve composed a fantasy football roster of nice guys.
Quarter Back: Peyton Manning
As of Thursday the NFL fined Denver Bronco Peyton Manning for taunting. Of the $8,268 fine Manning told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, “I accept the fine. It’s money well spent.” But taunting and a bit of smugness are as bad as NFL’s face of nice gets.
Wide Receiver: Pierre Garcon
Garcon’s name sounds like a character that Disney made up– like a humble waiter who might also whip you up some morning pancakes. Plus the wide-smiling Washington Redback is really into pizza. This makes him an obvious choice.
Wide Receiver: Larry Fitzgerald
Larry is a fine fantasy pick as well as being a fine gentleman. He learned how to catch with his eyes closed from a father who A. married his high school sweetheart, and B. focused on teaching Larry to play every game like it was the Superbowl. Of Larry, his father has said, “Larry Jr. is also recognized as a really good person. It was never easy and took a lot of divine intervention and faith, but I’m proud that our son trusted me and his late mother and listened to all the things we asked him to do.”
Wide Receiver: Wes Welker
The good guys look out for each other. After taking a hit from Houston safety D.J. Swearinger and receiving his third concussion in under 10-months, Welker’s Bronco teammate couldn’t control his mouth– hence the aforementioned Peyton Manning taunting fine. So if Manning is that into Welker, and is willing to casually shell out 8k for his bud, then we’re into Welker. Also, Welker is really into making foot references in press conferences, which might mean he has a foot fetish, but at least we know he always put his best foot forward.
Running Back: LaDainian Tomlinson
Tomlinson’s latest tweet reads: “Chilling with my daughter on vacation!! #daddy’s girl.” And then he posts a photo with his daughter. Before that he tweeted: “Daddy and daughter day at swim lessons!!#daddy’s girl.” Next.
Running Back: Doug Martin
Buccaneers RB Doug Martin took the ALS #icebucketchallenge and turned it into an end zone celebration. After scoring a touch down in the first quarter against Buffalo last Saturday, Martin celebrated by dumping imaginary ice water all over his body. Fake shivers and all. Not only will he score us touch downs but he’ll do them in the name of a good cause and raise awareness.
Tight End: Jason Witten
According to ESPN, TE Witten is the conscience of the Dallas Cowboys. They’ve said, “When he speaks to the team, players listen intently. He makes them laugh. He excites them. He brings them to tears. The grind of playing professional football matters to Witten.” He’ll make us laugh, he’ll make us cry, AND he was named NFL’s Man of the Year in 2012. COME ON.
W/R/T Calvin Johnson
Known as humble and soft-spoken, the Detroit Lions WR is magic. Even his teammate Nate Burleson calls him a “cross between Usain Bolt and Hercules,” which indeed sounds pretty magical. The humility comes from his fam, and a father who despite his son’s enormous contract refuses to retire. His mother is the daughter of a reverend, holds a Ph.D, is a project manager with the Atlanta public schools, and run’s Johnson’s foundation that helps at-risk youth use football to avoid trouble, in her spare time. All-in-all they are a family of sweetie-pies.
Bench Drew Brees
Maybe we’re suckers for men who tweet pictures with their kids, but on Sunday the New Orleans Saint QB welcomed his fourth child, tweeting “Spent the early morning with our new baby girl!”
“It just melted my heart to watch her born,” Brees told People after practice Tuesday. “I actually got to take the snap, so to speak, catch her on the way out.” Brees married his high-school sweetheart, Brittany, and together they run The Brees Dream Foundation, founded in 2003, which has contributed more than 11 million dollars to public projects, and New Orleans area organizations and charities.
Bench Aaron Rogers
The Green Bay Packer not only packs a semi-nice guy reputation, but he showed up to a preseason Packer luncheon in a Canadian tuxedo and bolo tie. And he has really neat handwriting. Score.
Bench Dallas Clark
CAN YOU PLAY A RETIRED PLAYER? EVEN IF HE’S A NICE GUY?
Bench Anquan Boldin
Boldin plays for the SF 49ers. Which seems like a good enough reason.
Bench Matt Forte
#22 of the Chicago Bears Matt Forte is part of a Bible study group with other Bears players and their wives.
Kicker Mason Crosby
Green Bay Packer’s Kicker Crosby is a self-proclaimed nice guy. His interests include: “My faith, being a husband and father, and kicking for the Green Bay Packers. A few of my favorite things. Lets not forget golf, hunting and fishing either.” No, Crobsy, let’s not.
There is a criminal on every single defense in the NFL.