By Doug Halberstadt
If you’ve spent any amount of time recently watching the television news, you’ve probably noticed that not all of the sports-related stories have come after the weather segment. Unfortunately, many of the recent sports stories that are making the news portion of the broadcast aren’t positive in nature.
The coverage of the Jerry Sandusky trial has managed to sicken me almost daily over the past few days. June 22, Sandusky was found guilty of 45 of 48 charges of sexual abuse of young boys over a 15-year period. I hope he is put away for the remainder of his life — as legal experts predict the 68-year-old former Penn State assistant football coach will be — and the national media make a conscious effort to ignore him. That’s what I intend to do.
Roger Clemens hasn’t thrown a blistering fastball in a Major League Baseball game in several years, yet I’ve heard more about him in the last week than what I feel is necessary. Multiple stories have rehashed his troubles and the congressional investigation that followed.
Did he take performance-enhancing drugs while pitching for the Boston Red Sox or didn’t he? Did he know if there were any steroids in the shots he was being given? Did he lie about the entire subject under oath? In a career in which he earned several records and honors, it’s sad that these questions will continue to haunt him, regardless of any jury’s decision.
He won bicycling’s most prestigious event, the Tour De France, a record seven times in a row. Almost a decade later, Lance Armstrong is still fielding questions about doping. Although he’s never failed a drug test, the accusations continue to dog him. He’s currently banned from competing in Iron Man triathlon events. This story is far from over, and will undoubtedly continue to be talked about by anchormen instead of sportscasters.
Finally, I did see a positive sports-related story on the news last week. It was the 40th anniversary of Title IX. The law is most commonly associated with equal rights for women in high school and collegiate athletics. What is truly ironic is that the original statute never mentioned anything about sports. “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity.”
Regardless of its original intention, Title IX has provided millions of deserving girls and young women with the opportunity to participate in athletics and pursue scholarships and professional careers that weren’t available prior to its adoption in 1972.
I make an effort to watch the national and local news programs as often as I possibly can. It’s not that uncommon to hear something negative concerning a professional athlete, coach, manager or owner during the news. It’s almost predictable that it will involve drugs and/or alcohol.
What truly is a rarity is when a positive sports-related story makes it into the news segment of the broadcast. On the occasion that it does happen, it ceases to be just sports, and it really does become news.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the June 27-July 3, 2012, issue