(CBS) – With the off-the-field behavior of some NFL stars now making bigger headlines than their play on the field, it can put parents in a difficult position.
One Chicago-area fan took drastic action: He fired the league.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports.
Libertyville resident Cliff Hieronymus — after watching last weekend’s NFL pre-game shows with his 7-year-old son jack — made a bold decision.
“The NFL is suspended indefinitely in my house. I can’t get up on Sundays and have to have those conversations all day with my son,” he says.
The tough conversations include questions about accused child abuser Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice, who admitted to striking his then-fiancee at an Atlantic City casino.
These are “things that you just shouldn’t have to talk to your son about when he’s 7 years old and just trying to watch the game with his dad,” Hieronymus says.
So, what should parents say when kids sports heroes are less than heroic?
“Seven is absolutely not too young. In fact, we would look at teachable moments from the time children are verbal,” advises Jay Colker, assistant professor at Adler School of Psychology.
Colker calls it a chance to explain that even sports stars are regular people, with regular problems — and a chance to discuss best behaviors.
Still, both Hieronymus and his son remain disappointed the league dithered in cleaning up the mess.
“If you make those bad decisions off the field, take them out of the game and the game will move on. The fans won’t revolt,” the father says.
Experts say, in talking with their kids, parents don’t need to have all the answers. Much more important is the conversation itself.