Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Jock Itch

Am I the only person who is sick and tired of pampered spoiled athletes? You know the ones who treat us to the spectacles like the one that recently transpired in Detroit where the mighty pampered one left the court and sprawled on the timekeepers table. Some disgruntled fan apparently threw water on him and the fight was on. This turned into a brawl with the athletes fighting the fans and the fans pelting the pampered ones with chairs, bottles, cups, and anything they could lay their hands on. Apparently the solution offered by the NBA was to protect the players from the fans by building some sort of a barricade – presumably like the hockey rinks have. However, to my jaundiced and uneducated eye, it seems the fans need to be protected from the players. But no one it seems is willing to suggest that maybe – just maybe – this overpaid and pampered ignoramus was actually personally responsible. In fact, the county prosecutor in Detroit actually prosecuted the fans and sent one to jail. The athletes defended by the players union (these guys NEED a union?) is appealed the suspension of the athlete who instigated the whole thing and the Prosecutor essentially gave the jocks a slap on the wrist. As bad as this is – it is really just symptomatic of a much greater malaise.

Almost on a daily basis we are treated to some ignorant, semi-literate barbarian mouthing off on the TV about how he is being treated, underpaid, not on drugs, or explaining his most recent arrest for drugs or drunkenness. Even when these overpaid dumbbells are conducting themselves in a more or less civilized manner, they still display appalling conduct. It isn’t just the brawling but it is those cute little dances in the end zone when they score. It isn’t enough to score—each touchdown must be accompanied by some sort of pubescent victory display --the sort of thing that used to mark one as a poor sport. Then we have the strutting, chest bumping, and weird hand wringing (apparently in lieu of a handshake) and gang gestures, all of which are viewed as normal behavior rather than what it is which is setting a low standard of conduct. This is alleged to be all in good fun and well it might be, but it also is a vivid example of how acceptable conduct has declined in civility, courtesy, and standards of conduct., not to mention sportsmanship.

However, it isn’t just basketball or football but virtually all sports have been contaminated with this sense of entitlement by the athletes that leads them to believe they are special and thus outside of the rules of society. Every year we are treated to the spectacle of some athlete being arrested for drug possession, drunkenness, assault, or rape. If these are student athletes they are slapped on the wrist and excused, which reinforces their sense of being outside of the law. Once these jocks ascend into the ranks of the highly overpaid, they lose all control. They are then free to use steroids to enhance their performance, they are entitled to take drugs because it is the thing to do and they can afford it. Gone is any semblance of propriety or responsibility to those who actually pay to see them play. These athletes for the most part are low class over paid trash, who are terrible role models.

That is a little cynical I admit, but the fact is that sportsmanship, self-respect, and courtesy seems to be completely lacking in the sports scene. Not just with the athletes who have appalling conduct but the fans as well. We see riots at soccer matches that result in major property damage plus fatalities. We see fans using language that turns the air blue without regard or consideration for those around them. The athletes no longer set an example unless you wish to cite them as bad examples. What is worse is that most of them cannot construct a simple English sentence and express themselves in understandable English. Are these really the people that we want to think of as role models? I for one am sick and tired of these people and their sense of being outside of the law. I think it is past time that they are held to account for their actions.

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