Tuesday, August 18, 2009

When Winning IS Everything!

I watched the video of Brett Favre exiting his private plane on the noon news while the reporter enthused that he was in the Viking's training camp as he spoke. I was thinking to myself what a selfish, self indulgent man-child Favre is.

Last night while watching the pre-season football game, I listened while John Gruden, Ron Jaworski and Mike Tirico were practically drooling over the return of Michael Vick to the pro ranks.

I started thinking about how many people within the sports community are enablers when it comes to boys behaving badly.
Some are in the media. Others among the fan base. Owners. And yes, even coaches. However, I have to say when it's at the college level and a school gives a coach a pass for egregious behavior, it becomes perfectly clear why many of these young men have little knowledge of socially acceptable behavior.

Politicians, as sleazy as they can be at times, don't get the pass that Rick Pitino is getting from the University of Louisville! He's married and supposedly a devout Catholic. He's out with the boys. He gets drunk and while his assistant keeps watch he has sex with a woman he just met, in a restaurant yet. What? On a table? Reminds me of the tag line of a joke, "Oh well, we didn't want to come back to this restaurant anyway!"

She gets pregnant. She wants an abortion. He shells out the money. In a bazaar twist another assistant marries her and tries to extort $10 million from the coach. The whole sordid mess becomes public.

Under the moral code by which most of us live he would have been sent packing in nothing flat. But he wins basketball games. So what did the University do? Had him make a public apology. After all, people deserve second chances. Whew. It Mike's Mike Price's indiscretions while at Alabama seem like child's play!

And we wonder what influences spawn an O.J. or a Vick or a Bonds and so many more. The players' unions protect the players until the public gets fed up enough to demand some sort of punishment but by then the harm has been done, both to the athlete and their "victims". What about coaches?

Coaches are mentors and in many cases father figures to many of the young men in their charge. When their own kids are in trouble with the law, like Andy Reid's, you wonder. The players are kids themselves for the most part. Many never finish college so they can turn pro as quickly as possible. Then the "too much too soon" syndrome raises it's ugly head and infects them. The results are often tragic.

Okay, I'm not well versed in the fine points of the sports industry. I do know when things are skewed. When college coaches get nothing more than a knuckle rap for behavior like Pitino's it's reprehensible. The University needs to look at their president and parents need to look long and hard at the University before allowing their kids to attend. By the time they're ready to turn pro, it's too late.

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