Talk about a double standard! Marion Jones gets six months in prison for admitted steroid use. Jose Canseco and his ilk walk around naming names, making big bucks writing books and naming names; others like Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds deny ad nauseum.
Don't think Jone's sentence was harsh because a forgery charge was attached to it. Consider that the sentencing judge said he gave her the maximum penalty under her plea deal to send a message to athletes who abuse drugs and overlook the value of "hard work, dedication, teamwork and sportsmanship."
I can't help but be skeptical. I do not condone for one minute what Ms. Jones did nor do I have undue sympathy for her because she has children. She lied and was caught pure and simple.
On the other hand, her area of excellence is in track and field. Not a big money sport by any means. And no "players union" to protect her. So she's ripe to become the example to other athletes? For finally owning up; telling the truth? Jail time.
With the Super Bowl just around the corner and thinking of the big bucks all professional athletes make regardless of how they conduct their lives; how their unions protect them, how the teams protect them, how their "status" as "heros" protect them I say bunk.
You want to make an impression on young athletes? Throw the book at a coach who steals another team's sideline signals, a player who constantly beats his wife or gets picked up on DUI's. One who walks from a rape charge because he's more needed by his team than the girl may be needed by an employer.
True. Not everyone walks. Some offenses, such as Michael Vick's, are so aggregious, the courts have no choice but to come down hard. But they do themselves little good when they shackle some and give others a pass. Why do young athletes think they can get away with such behavior? Maybe, just maybe situations like this.