Why do NFL teams hire former cops?
- by admin
The New York Giants are not just a team.
They are also a community.
They hire ex-cop.
That’s the message they’ve been sending all summer with the hiring of former Los Angeles Police Department officer Chris Conley, who has been serving a 10-month prison sentence for a string of robberies and assault charges.
Conley is the first openly gay police officer to serve as a full-time officer in the department, and the first former cop to serve in the position since 1991.
His hiring was a win for the NFL and for police advocates across the country.
“The NFL has a great job-to-work ratio, a really strong commitment to the community,” said Jason Mazzola, an attorney and the former chief counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
“When you have a gay police chief and a gay partner, you have an opportunity to show people that the NFL has the highest job-security and most positive environment.”
Conley has been lauded for his work, but he’s also been criticized by some of his former colleagues.
“Chris Conley will go down as one of the most controversial police chiefs in the country,” said the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights leader and former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
“He has an incredible amount of respect for police officers and he has an amazing amount of empathy for people who are struggling with mental health and addiction and homelessness.”
Conner, who is scheduled to be released in September, has said he has forgiven his past mistakes and is focused on becoming a police officer and father of a young son.
“I’ve learned a lot and I’ve matured a lot,” Conley said in a statement.
“At the same time, I have also learned that there is nothing I can do about my mistakes.”
In a statement issued after his hiring, Conley praised his colleagues for working with him and saying he has “great respect” for them.
He also said he is looking forward to “working with many of my former colleagues and working with my new colleagues to make the Giants the force they know they can be.”
Conleys attorney said the Giants did not intend to hire him “as a public relations stunt” and that they have never considered him an employee.
The NFLPA said in an emailed statement that the league was “proud” to hire Conley.
“We’re proud of the NFL for not only hiring an openly gay cop, but for hiring an officer who’s been in the service of the community for decades,” said Stephanie Felsen, an NFLPA communications director.
“While we welcome Chris’ announcement of his new career path, we are particularly proud of what he’s done to support the police department, especially the many community police officers who have been at the center of the recent controversy surrounding the Ray Rice video.”
Conners hiring also comes after several high-profile police deaths.
In May, former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was killed by a suspect who had been accused of robbing him in 2014.
A year earlier, police officers in Dallas were shot dead by a man who had killed two officers in an ambush in which the suspects were killed by police.
And in July, former Philadelphia police officer Joseph Pantaleo was found guilty of killing two unarmed black men in a parking lot.
And last month, former Cleveland police officer Tamir Rice was shot to death by a white police officer who mistook him for a black man and shot him in the back as he lay on the ground.
Police departments across the nation have been struggling to balance policing and community safety amid a national debate over race relations.
The Los Angeles and Philadelphia police departments, for example, have been under pressure to reform after the deaths of Brown, Garner, and Tamir, and in August, police in New York City said they had begun to rethink how to deal with black citizens and those with mental illness.
Earlier this month, the NFL suspended its draft of former Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith after a video surfaced showing Smith assaulting a woman who was trying to intervene in a domestic dispute.
“There are going to be people who will criticize our team and our organization and will say that we are putting our foot down in our own backyard,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in August.
“It’s a very important time to be a professional sports league, and we have to be respectful of our team.”
The NFL said in its statement that it was “troubled” by the death of Conley and that the agency would “examine the hiring process and the circumstances of this individual’s hiring.”
“We appreciate the hard work and dedication of Chris and his teammates, and look forward to their continued success,” the statement read.
The New York Giants are not just a team.They are also a community.They hire ex-cop.That’s the message they’ve been sending…