Sam Hurd Scandal Could Mushroom Into Huge Headache For the NFL

Prepare for the moral outrage

By Drew Magary
|  Friday, Dec 16, 2011  |  Updated 3:59 PM EDT
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Drug Scandal Could Be Huge Headache for NFL

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NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 18: Sam Hurd #81 of the Chicago Bears catches a pass over Roman Harper #41 of the New Orleans Saints at Louisiana Superdome on September 18, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Bears 30-13. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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I know this is going to sound wildly inappropriate given the circumstances, but you have to have a certain amount of admiration for Chicago Bears wideout and alleged drug kingpin Sam Hurd.

Here's a gentleman who was moving, according to law enforcement officials, upwards of $700,000 in hard drugs every week. And he was doing it while playing full time for an NFL team!

According to AM 670 in Chicago, Hurd was a top drug dealer in the city. And Hurd only joined the Bears THIS season! Holy smokes! Are you telling me that, in the span of less than a year, Hurd was able to seize control of the Chicago drug trade AND learn the intricacies of Mike Martz's elaborate timing patterns?

The Hurd scandal could end up becoming a huge thorn in the side of the NFL. There are certain scandals that you just know have legs, and the Hurd arrest is one of them, mostly because of this tidbit:

Police have a list of NFL players who were supplied drugs by the receiver, a law enforcement source told 670 The Score.

The list is “in the double-digits”, according to the source.

There is no way that list stays under wraps for very long. Not a chance. And when the names do come out, not only will the NFL have to deal with the public embarrassment of having possible big-name players exposed as chronic drug users, it will also be left to explain how its testing program was so weak that multiple players could purchase drugs from Hurd without much worry.

The NFL will also have to deal with the typical suburban sportswriter moral outrage produced by this story. Unlike the NBA, the NFL has largely avoided scaring off easily offended red state folks who fear "thuggish," "ungrateful" players. Commissioner Roger Goodell has used the magical powers of arbitrary, unfair suspensions to put wayward players in their place and reassure all of Mitch Albom's readers that the league won't become some kind of large-scale version of the University of Miami football program.

Hurd's arrest, and the subsequent outing of his client list, will stoke the hysteria anew. Mark my words: Each new name that comes out will spur a new round of "Is the NFL out of control?" headlines, the kind that pop up any time a Cincinnati Bengal is arrested for DUI.

The problem for Roger Goodell is that no amount of background checks and suspensions will ever wipe out bad actors from the NFL. There will always be players who gets arrested, who do drugs or deal drugs, who commit assault, and so on and so on. That's just the law of averages.

What Roger Goodell now faces is an IMAGE crisis, where he'll have to keep up the elaborate ruse that the NFL is somehow a cleaner, more honest sport than the rest. It never has been and never will be, but that hasn't stopped a great many people from believing it.

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