A culture of violence? - FOX 13 News

A culture of violence?

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Patriots fans want nothing to do with Aaron Hernandez. They're giving back his jersey and are disgusted that the former Gator is charged with murder.

Hernandez joins a shameful list:

Forty-one of the 121 players on the 2008 Gators championship team have been arrested since that season. That's 1/3 of the roster. Also, 29 NFL players have been in handcuffs since the last Super bowl in February. Is there a football culture of violence and crime?

Former Buccaneer Booger McFarland says it often starts with who these athletes surround themselves with.

"I think the number one factor is the company you keep," said McFarland. "Whether it's the guys from back home. Whether it's the guys that are in the league. Your company changes and it's not always for the good."

These days, McFarland hosts a sports radio show on 98.7 FM The Fan. He never got into trouble in the NFL and explains it this way.

"It takes an entire team," he said. "That's parents. That's coaches. That's teachers. That's everybody that can influence these young men, then they'll have a better shot to make it."

The Tampa Bay Lions youth football league operates on that very principle. It's not just football. The kids also take classes on leadership and staying away from violence and drugs. The team partners with Team International Consulting based in Tampa.

"What we do is say 'hey kids, we are aware the drug abuse. We are aware of all those other things that cause our kids to go astray," said Tampa Bay Lions President Cookie Dorsey.

Dorsey says bad behavior in college football and the NFL hurts young athletes. Her 11-year-old son Nosakhere came to her about Hernandez.

"I said 'this is why I say to you, bad company is not an option for you,'" said Dorsey.

McFarland's advice:

"Understand the company you keep and understand that everything you do has choices. Everything you do has consequences," he said.

The Tampa Bay Lions are looking for more kids to play this season.

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