A New Preseason Is In Order
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.