Ezekiel Elliott made headlines for all the wrong reasons recently, and one former Dallas Cowboys player would like to see the running back get smarter about his behavior.

Elliott, celebrating a parade on top of a building in Dallas, pulled down the top of one of the women he was partying with. Because of the ongoing investigation by the NFL into an alleged assault against an ex-girlfriend, it’s been speculated Roger Goodell could use this incident against the running back to discipline him (more on that here).

The incident also sparked a women’s group to call for the NFL to suspend Elliott for what they viewed as “sexual assault.”

Speaking with 103.3 FM in Dallas, former Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears broke down his thought process on the matter.

“The guy’s just gotta stop being dumb, man,” former Spears said, via the Dallas Morning News. “That’s really what it boils down to. And I’m not going to speak on it like I know all of the particulars but I saw it and I don’t understand it. I was talking to my wife last night about it. With all of the social media, all of the media coverage that we give because we have to and we have to talk about these things, you would think that these guys would have in their minds and they would understand that I have things that I can’t do. And not as a football player but just as a human. At the end of the day, the eye of the world is on Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott because of the success that they had. They not only have the eye of the world but they play for the Dallas Cowboys, who are always in the eye of public.”

Spears then wondered why Elliott and others don’t seem to get it, even after having the NFL and their teams preach about being careful with their public image.

“When you see stuff like that, you just sit back and ask yourself what part of the message that the seminars and the speakers and the daily talks and the news coverage and the social media world doesn’t stick?” Spears said. “Because guys are still out here doing things that are crazy in my mind. So I hate to be judgmental but the most important thing for Zeke is to continue to mature. . . . [T]he decisions that they’re making at 21, 22 years old while they’re playing in the league, while everybody is kissing their butt and telling them how great they are will have a profound impact on them moving forward when they’re done playing football. Once you leave the field, people have a tendency to forget about you and all they do is remember the bad things.”

Spears’ message to Elliott is to “lay low” and “have fun” in a “respectable manner.”

“At the end of the day no one can fault you for trying to enjoy the hard work and the labor that you put in to put yourself in this position. But you also have a responsibility to not only yourself but your family to take care of business the right way and not get involved in stupidity.”

Whatever your personal take on what Elliott did, Spears’ overall message is one every young athlete should take to heart. It’s very similar to what former Ohio State and NFL linebacker Chris Spielman had to share after seeing the young player get into hot water for behaving as if he were partying in a frat house, rather than out on a public street.

Given the insane spotlight that shines so brightly on Elliott as one of the NFL’s biggest young superstars, he just needs to be smarter. Period.