Monthly Archives: September 2014
Don’t be fooled, this is nothing new.
And don’t think for one second that the NFL is the only league with player issues away from the field. It’s just their turn in the spotlight after keeping so much of it in the dark for so long.
It’s high time that the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and every other pro sports got schooled.
I was once given a glimpse of what it took to become a professional golfer when a friend took on that pursuit. While the expected endless hours of practice were discussed, what really surprised me were the variety of educational courses that were required.Things like managing your finances and handling groupies were part of the mix.
I’m guessing Tiger Woods’ grade in the latter was not so great.
Now, this was back in the late 80s and 90s, so I can only presume that it still exists at that level if not having become more extensive.
But just what is required to become a big league player in football, baseball and basketball?
We hear tales of former player/coaches like Herm Edwards going in and talking to rookie NFL players about how to handle themselves on and off the field and what a privilege it is to play the game. We can only assume that some kind of similar “rah-rah” speeches are given baseball, basketball and hockey.
But are these one-time gab sessions really getting it done? Evidently not.
So what to do?
I say we send them back to class.
With offenses like spousal abuse, child abuse and a variety of drug and PED abuse running rampant in pro sports today, it’s time these men and women were brought up to speed on just what they’re up against.
It is this writer’s opinion that professional sports be required to have all of its players, coaches and team personnel in a series of classes each and every off-season. They need to be attending classes on every kind of abuse – in how to avoid it, how to identify it and how to report it. They need classes in how to handle fans and reporters, and most of all how to handle their money.
These courses cannot be administered by the teams or leagues themselves. Rather, they need to be given by independent organizations and carry very real, very serious curriculum. Curriculum that must be studied, learned and regurgitated on very real tests. And they need to be given very real, very serious grades.
No, not like the “grades” they had in college. We’re talking grades that carry a significant penalty if they don’t get at least an 80%. They don’t pass, they don’t play, train or practice with the team until they do.
Courses like these would make help these athletes more aware of these cultural maladies and help them to avoid falling into them as well as identifying teammates who may be nearing the edge of making a mistake.
And yes, they need to be held accountable for not reporting it. Like teachers and various community service personnel, they need to be held accountable for not reporting information to their independent team officials if they see someone slipping into a pattern of abusing their wife or kids, or experimenting with various drugs or PEDs.
If they don’t report, they don’t play.
You may argue that this is demeaning to these players, treating them like children.
Well maybe when they stop acting like children, we can stop treating them that way.
Chances have been given. Repeatedly.
Opportunities afforded. Repeatedly.
Enough is enough.
The recent revelation that the NFL has had in its possession, since sometime in April, the full and uncut version of the Ray Rice beating of his then fiancee Janay Palmer from February 15, 2014, only serves to prove that they cannot handle anything properly. Even when a grievous offense such as this is laid out clearly before them, they can only think of their bottom line.
The absolute last thing on their mind was doing what was right.
Commissioner Roger Goodell claims that he and the league never saw the full footage. But an AP writer claims that a law enforcement official sent a copy of the tape – with both the elevator beat down and Rice pulling Palmer from the car unconscious – in April to an NFL official. Goodell is now left to either admit that he lied or that his staff is so incompetent that they never showed it to him.
You can bet he’ll choose the latter. And if it’s not true, you can bet that whomever he throws under the buss will come back at him like some “Walking Dead” super zombie. But instead of shuffling slowly along in search of brains, he or she will hot-foot it straight to the closest news channel spewing dates, times and full accounts.
While it is now clear that between drugs/steroids, cheating and a complete disregard for human decency the NFL is completely incapable of managing its own affairs, they are just a hope, skip and a jump behind the likes of Major League Baseball, all of college sports and the rest.
Someone has to step in and fix this, and they have to do it now.
In my youth I thought that the government could handle a job like this. But several decades of growing up and experience tell me that they the only thing they would have done is screw up decades earlier.
There really isn’t a well qualified person or group who took run any of this with any integrity. So maybe we are just left to watch as the NFL, followed later by MLB, NBA and the rest slowly implode on themselves.
No, there is only one message these people understand. Only one language they speak. Only one thing that they hold precious and that we ultimately control.
The only way to effectively stop this nonsense is to hit them where it hurts the most, right in the wallet.
We can start with the NFL by not patronizing them until a certain level of acceptable behavior has been reached. And no, this is not one of those lame boycotts has is annually tried by not buying gas for one day. The gas doesn’t go anywhere and you are either going to buy it the day before or the day after. They lose nothing.
No, this means not watching games in person or on television. It means not buying their jerseys. It means not buying anything – and I mean ANYTHING – from a company that supports the NFL in any way, shape or form. it means cutting them off 100% so that their overblown, out-of-control egos and salaries are so deflated and depleted that they seriously have to consider going to work in their major from college.
Sadly, that just won’t happen.
A poll in The Baltimore Sun showed that 41% of the respondents thought the Ravens cutting Rice was the wrong decision.
“Fox & Friends” – the supposed defenders of the conservative right – were about as uneducated and unsympathetic Floyd Mayweather. “I think the message is, take the stairs,” said Brian Kilmeade concluded. With Steve Doocy adding, “The message is, when you’re in an elevator, there’s a camera.”
No blame for thew abuser. No, certainly not … especially when your employed is in bed every Sunday afternoon with the perpetrator’s head honcho.
Unfortunately a vast portion of our society still thinks that Palmer, as well as other abused victims, must bear some of the fault. And as long as that mentality exists, this kind of ignorance, stupidity and all-out rampant greed will continue.
I’m starting to think that show last Fall, “The Revolution”, wouldn’t be such a bad scenario after all if for no other reason than the people who defend such abusers as Rice would be at their mercy.
And only then would their attitude even begin to change.