Watch CBS News

Expert Explains The Psychology Behind Athletes Behaving Badly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Athletes behaving badly in Philadelphia have certainly grabbed headlines in recent times. Some well-known figures have found themselves in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

But, why does it happen?

LeSean McCoy
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The vicious assault video showing the brawl at the Recess Lounge in Old City this past weekend, allegedly involves former Eagles running back LeSean McCoy. It's not the first time we've seen logical professional athletes thrust into the limelight, for all the wrong reasons.

Former Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper's image was tarnished when video from a Kenney Chesney concert, two years ago, revealed Cooper using a racial slur against African American concert goers.

In December, video surfaces of a street fight outside of a Boston bar involving rookie Sixers star Jahlil Okafor, casting a bit of a shadow over the 20-year-old's first season in the NBA.

"Quite frankly, it's a maturity issue," said Joe Dowling, a sports psychologist who works with the University of Pennsylvania men's basketball team.

"These are really young men with a lot of money looking to make everyone happy.

"When I talk to young professionals and student athletes, it's amazing what we hear about the fears and insecurities and then we see them on television and they're in trouble."

Dowling says there's a real movement now in high schools and colleges across the county to nurture a young athlete's mental state of mind while still applauding their physical prowess.

"Hopefully as we move forward, we're looking at mental strengths as well as physical strengths," Dowling said.

While the future of McCoy's alleged involvement in this brawl remains uncertain, Dowling says he has one question for the star:

"What I would ask him is what have you learned from this and what could you do differently."

McCoy has not been charged in the case. Dowling hopes to integrate more sports psychology type programs, in high schools and colleges around the country.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.