The main question surrounding the arrest of Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd is the simplest and shortest: Why?
You can read the details of Hurd’s rise and possible fall here in this NY Times article, but the one question we may never receive the answer to is why.
Why would an outwardly decent person, one who remembered his roots and donated his time and money with an attitude of truly wanting to help be leading a double life that has led to allegations of cocaine distribution and an apparent desire to be an outright drug lord?
It’s a simple and short question and in spite of the rampant speculation from amateur psychologists and would-be insightful writers, the final answer can only be that we don’t know.
We may never know.
What explains the duality?
It defies explanation to risk a lucrative career playing a sport to involve himself in an endeavor that is more lucrative and more risky to both his life and freedom than football could ever be.
Was Hurd trying to use his involvement in children’s camps, his dedication to the church, and seemingly sincere efforts to help others a mere cover for his dark activities?
It’s understandable for those caught in sex scandals; extramarital affairs; (multiple) paternity suits; PEDs; DUIs; gambling; who lose their money in shady and ill-advised deals; and even domestic incidents. Sometimes public shame even scares the transgressor straight. But what Hurd is accused of being involved in isn’t a case of someone who introduced one friend from his neighborhood to a nightclub acquaintance and got caught up in a sting while having done nothing of consequence other than making an introduction; this is a man who’s accused of making the decision to become a rising star in the drug business while he was an active NFL player.
So was it fake?
Was Hurd playing a part to make himself look like an upstanding member of the community who was grateful for his good fortune and wanted to pay it forward to others?
Or was he a hardened criminal for whom jail was a part of doing business and whose selfish interests trumped common sense?
Drug dealers don’t think of themselves as public enemies; their logic is such that they’ll say, “No one’s forcing my customers to buy my product; and if I don’t sell it to them, someone else will; at least I’m doing something positive with a portion of the money by giving back to people who need it.”
There’s occasionally a logical reason behind it when they say they can’t support their families any other way. Sometimes it’s used to make a better life for future generations.
Agree with it or not, it’s logical.
Then the slope becomes even more slippery with such “upstanding” entities like Enron; Bernie Madoff; Bill Conlin; Joe Paterno—legal and respected people, oblivious to the destruction in their wake as they shun consequences and moral propriety by hiding unspeakable awfulness for their own interests, consciously blurring the lines between perceived right and wrong.
Is Hurd an evil entity? Did he get a buzz from the rush of not playing by the rules? Was he thinking he wouldn’t get caught? Or was he trying to accumulate wealth by any means necessary and use a portion of it positively?
The downfall of every gambler and drug dealer is greed.
Because the subsets to the question why are so vast and variable, any response is going to be justifiable in some way whether societally acceptable or not.
And we may never know the full answer.
Because there isn’t one.