Player X is a concept running throughout the fall of 2009 in ESPN The Magazine; essentially, it's an NFL star contributing his thoughts on the world of sports anonymously. This specific column appears in the December 28 issue of ESPN The Magazine. For a more detailed archive of these entries, please click here.
Football is a brutal game, but NFL players have a sensitive side. And with
the holidays approaching, we're in a giving mood. It's the time of year when
guys with big contract extensions go shopping for their position groups or
bodyguards. Franchise D-tackles buy hi-def TVs for their ends, QBs reward
their O-linemen. NFL owners aren't the only ones who practice revenue
sharing, though I'm thinking Tom Brady won't be springing for new Audis this
Speaking of generosity, maybe it's the holiday spirit that made me and my teammates reserve initial judgment on the Tiger Woods fiasco. (Yes, we talk about this stuff like everybody else.) When the story broke, most guys
gave him the benefit of the doubt. We've all had teammates who got in
trouble, or we've had trouble ourselves. And we've known guys who've been
falsely accused or had incidents blown out of proportion. Trust me, Tiger
isn't the first athlete to bang up an Escalade. Anyway, when you play a team
sport, your first instinct is to rally around a guy. And I always try to
avoid making snap judgments, because you never know.