T.J. Ward and Matt Russell bring bad image to Denver Broncos


They say that no press is bad press. In the Broncos case, that doesn’t seem to be true.

Lately, the team has not been making headlines for its splash during the offseason; instead, it has been in the news because its players and other workers can’t seem to stay out of trouble.

Just a few short months ago, Denver scored strong safety T.J. Ward, which was arguably one of the best free agency moves in the entire league. He played for the Cleveland Browns for four seasons, and was named Second-Team All-Pro from the Associated Press and was selected to the Pro Bowl for his success during the 2013 season.

Now, however, Ward is in the news for something other than football: a warrant out for his arrest.

Yesterday, a warrant was out for the arrest of Ward for a misdemeanor assault at a Denver strip club on May 9. According to AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez, he allegedly threw a glass mug at a female bartender after being told he couldn’t bring a drink into the club.

The warrant was dismissed Friday, but Ward appeared in court the same day to face his charges. His court date was set for June 23.

In other news, Broncos director of player personnel Matt Russell also made headlines Friday when he was sentenced to seven months in jail and two years of probation. He pleaded guilty to driving under the influence, possession of an open container of alcohol and careless driving. The incident occurred last July when Russell rear-ended a police squad car.

In addition to two months probation, Russell will also undergo mandatory therapy and substance abuse testing.

Unfortunately, these two controversies made the news within two days of each other. Not only does it make those two men look bad, but it also makes the team look bad.

When someone holds a position that is under more public scrutiny than an average job, that person must hold higher standards for himself. Whether that job is an actor, a politician or an athlete, among many other positions, a person under the spotlight must become a role model for others.

Many children grow up watching the NFL; they find a team they become loyal to, and many even begin to aspire to become a player themselves or to work in the industry.

When a team’s players and personnel members are in the spotlight because of bad decisions, it jeopardizes these kids’ dreams. Their parents might discourage them from cheering on a team with those players and workers, and they might even discourage them from playing the sport.

Those who choose to work for the NFL, whether as a player or in a behind-the-scenes role, know it’s not going to be easy. They know they will be under constant public scrutiny, and they know that any bad decision they make will be all over the news.

If someone chooses to work for the NFL, then they should choose to become a role model too. It’s clear many need to take this role much more seriously and need to clean up their act.

Every team has its controversial players and workers. Unfortunately, the Broncos had two of them make the news at the same time.

Hopefully, the team won’t be making any more news any time soon for that reason. Hopefully, the only news the team makes in the near future is because of its success, but that’s up to its players and its personnel.

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