The NFL’s effort to augment its image amidst much documented thuggery and thievery hit an unfortunate snag last week when Chicago Bears player Israel Idonije failed to show up at a hospital and instead found himself at a swanky prep school due to a clerical error.

The error was traced back to NFL Charities administrative assistant Jackie Kaxin who emailed Idonije’s driver directions to St. Francis Prep School in suburban Hinsdale instead of St. Francis Hospital on Chicago’s South Side.

“I was expecting to see bandages and scars on their sad little faces,” Idonije said. “Man, was I wrong. These kids were wearing more expensive sunglasses than I own.”

Not sure what to do, Idonije stayed at St. Francis Prep for an hour typing his name into fourth graders’ iPads instead of signing autographs.

“It was OK,” nine-year-old Robby McAuliffe said. “My dad went to college with Drew Rosenhaus so I’ve been to three Superbowls, but I guess it was nice to see a player up close outside of Miami.”

For their part, the kids in the pediatric burn ward remained upbeat, despite yet another disappointing blow life dealt to them. As an apology, the NFL sent them pens with their favorite team logos, though many of the kids were unable to write because of the casts on their arms.

Gregg Jaffe