NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Giants great Lawrence Taylor says football always came easy for him.
But life? That’s been difficult for the Hall of Famer to manage.
In an interview with Showtime’s “Inside the NFL,” which aired Wednesday night, the former linebacker said he has struggled with self-discipline.
“Nowadays, you guys are on 24-hours-a-day so everything that happens is actually exploited a little bit more or is blown up a little bit more and more people know about it,” Taylor said. “So now you have to really discipline yourself. For years, I had no discipline. I could do what I wanted to do as far as playing in New York.”
(Programming note: LT will join WFAN’s Mike Francesa at 4 p.m. Thursday. Listen live here.)
Taylor was sentenced in March to six years’ probation under a deal to plead guilty to sexual misconduct and patronizing an underage prostitute. In November, he was sued by the teenage girl he admitted having sex with in the case that led to his guilty plea to misdemeanor charges earlier this year.
Taylor said when he pleaded guilty that the girl told him she was 19. His attorney said Taylor “did not intend to patronize a prostitute who was under legal age.”
Showtime’s Cris Collinsworth asked Taylor, “What makes you think you’ve changed?”
“I never told you I was different,” Taylor responded. “I never told you that. I never said I was different. I realized that times have changed and there are consequences for every action. No matter if you think it’s innocent, there are consequences for every action.”
“But that wasn’t innocent,” said Collinsworth. “This was an underage girl. That’s pretty serious.”
“This is an underage girl, but all I could do is ask the question, ‘How old are you?’” said Taylor. “That’s all I could do. That’s all I could do is ask the question. Now whether the girl was underage, yes, OK, she turned out to be underage. I’m sitting in the doggone police station wondering, ‘What time I’m going to be let out here so I can go play golf?’ I didn’t realize how serious it was until we sat down for an interview.”
The girl, who was 16 when the crime occurred in May 2010, filed suit in federal court in New York. She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages to be determined at trial. She made a statement outside his sentencing hearing in March saying he deserved jail time.
“Regardless, if I asked her the question, I’m still responsible for that,” Taylor said. “And all I can do is just say, ‘Hey, you’ve got to learn from your experiences.’ That’s one thing I’ve done. I’ve taken the long road on a lot of different things. I’ve taken the long road, you know like when I had my drug problem.”
Taylor, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999 and competed in ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” last year, had a highly publicized struggle with drug addiction and has had multiple legal run-ins since retiring from football.
“Because as easy as football is to me … is as hard as life is to me,” Taylor said. “I’m just hopeful that life will come easier.”
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