As much as football coaches and players like to think they’re independent Alpha Males boldly willing their teams to victories with superior scheming and execution, the fact of the matter is that football is mostly a game of sheep. Coaches are scared out of their wits to deviate from the tried and true, and players are creatures of superstition and routine. When a coach actually sticks his neck out and tries something even mildly different he’s hailed as a visionary genius, even when said thing has been around for generations *cough*Wildcat formation*cough*.
And then when one football player/coach tries something, there’s a mad rush to copy the pioneer. Again - Wildcat formation. But such copycattery is not limited to gameday routines or play formations. Take financial fraud, for instance. You get one measly coach caught up in a real estate scandal and suddenly the entire NFL is falling over themselves to follow suit.
Wait, how many things in a row make a trend? It’s two, right? No? Shut up, it is tonight. Hot on the heels of Rich Rodriguez’s involvement in a condo-related ponzi scheme, former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Eugene Lockhart has been indicted on charges of bigass mortgage fraud. We’re pretty sure that’s the official term. BLOOMBERG’s got the deets, because that’s what they do:
Lockhart is credited with more than 100 tackles in every season except 1987, when he broke a bone in his leg. In 1989, he led the NFL and set a club record with 222 tackles in a single season. [The U.S. Attorney’s Office] said the conspirators paid “straw borrowers’’ commissions of $10,000 to $20,000 to submit loan applications containing false financial information and which portrayed them as buyers who would occupy the homes as their primary residences. “The conspirators concealed from the lenders the true status, financial condition and intentions of the named borrowers, knowing that loans would not likely be approved if the lender knew the true role, credit worthiness and risk of each straw borrower,’’ Jacks said. Lockhart, who is also accused of wire fraud, faces as much as 50 years in prison and more than $1.25 million in fines and restitution, if he’s convicted on both counts.
This is not a trend you want to follow, football folks. It seems like every couple months (notwithstanding the recent spate of problems) there’s a story about a current or ex-athlete getting embroil;ed in some sort of bad business deal of one kind or another. The same kind of arrogant bullheadedness that serve these people so well on the gridiron is the exact same sort of thinking that can get someone involved with some pretty dumbass financial schemes.
And we’re not financial experts by any means, but it seems that this is the same sort of behavior that America’s largest banks and mortgage lenders engaged in to get us in the exact mortgage crisis we’re still dealing with today. But nobody at Bank of America or WaMu is facing 50 years in prison, despite losing many more millions or billions of dollars. Lockhart would have been better off swindling people if he were doing it under the banner of a Fortune 500 company; hell, instead of being arrested by the government, he’d be getting bailed out.