Monday, June 23, 2008

Sports Criminals

In today’s sports world it is not uncommon to read a story weekly or even daily about an athlete that is in trouble with the law. We have all heard about the steroid use in Major League Baseball, drugs used in the summer and Winter Olympics, and all kinds of criminal activity in the NFL and NBA. This trend of behavior has got to slow down because at this rate, all the professional sports programs will be obsolete in 5 years because all of the athletes will be in jail or suspended from the sports programs.

I enjoyed watching sports as a child. I remember the great players in basketball- Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Dr. J. I remember the awesome football players- Joe Montana, John Elway, Tony Dorset, Eric Dickerson, and the great Chicago Bear’s defense. I am not much of a baseball fan, but I do remember watching Reggie Jackson, Roger Clemens, and Pete Rose play. What I don’t remember as well is all of the legal and criminal trouble that we see in today’s sports. I know that Michael Jordan got in trouble with gambling, but that arose when his career as a sports player had ended. I know that Pete Rose got in trouble for a similar problem. I don’t remember players being investigated for murders, robberies, assault and battery, illegal dog fighting matches (Michael Vick), drugs, steroids, and all kinds of other illegal and criminal activity.
While reading this list, you start to forget about sports and start thinking you are reading a New York City police arrest report!

My biggest problem with this type of behavior is that these athletes are rich! They don’t need to rob a store because they are out of money! They aren’t living in the ghetto! They are getting paid to play a sport! They are given millions upon millions of dollars to shoot baskets, throw footballs, hit baseballs, run. These are things that most of us enjoy doing on the weekends with our friends. We can’t even imagine being paid for it, let alone get paid millions. The biggest problem with today’s athlete is that they have turned into spoiled adults. If you think a spoiled kid is a problem, wait until you meet a spoiled adult. This is someone who gets a lot of money, spends it on a lot of frivolous things, has too much time on their hands, gets into trouble a lot, and basically can’t find any happiness because they still haven’t learned the old adage that money can’t buy happiness.

The biggest problem with athletes in trouble with the law is that they have the money to hire the best lawyers money can buy. Money may not be able to buy happiness but I think we have all witnessed it buying an athlete’s freedom. Remember the football player by the name of OJ? He was found innocent of the murder that he was on trial for, but I think most of us think that he was guilty.

I think that most fans would like to see a return to the old days when the biggest criminal offenses were gambling related. Those seem rather minor compared to today’s crimes. I don’t know that this will ever happen but I do know that if the current rate of criminal activity continues, the future of sports will change for the worse. Which reminds me of another old adage; crime doesn’t pay (unless you’re an athlete).
Return to the Neighborhood

1 comment:

Candace E. Salima said...

I couldn't agree more. When I finished compiling and writing "13 and 0: Reflections of Champions" this was the one thing that really struck me. I'd rather my kid have these guys as heroes than the Kobe Bryants and the like who think nothing of rape and murder.