By Doug Halberstadt
Several big-name athletes have been in the headlines recently. I purposely don’t want to use their names. They don’t deserve any more attention. They’ve made those headlines because of their abhorrent, nearly Neanderthal behavior.
I am fed up with hearing and reading about these so-called sports heroes breaking various laws and hurting people. Despite their attempts to explain it away or make excuses as to why they’ve done the things they’ve done, it is simply not acceptable. I don’t care how many MVP awards one has or how many millions of dollars of product endorsements are associated with a person’s name — they don’t deserve any special favors, dismissals or oversights because their work shirts have large numbers on them.
It seems there is an underlying culture of thuggish behavior permeating professional sports. It’s certainly not everyone, but there are enough bad apples among the good ones to create a foul odor. These thugs seem to think the rules of society don’t apply to them.
It’s not uncommon to hear about them illegally carrying weapons, using illicit drugs, and now committing more severe crimes.
I’m guessing when you combine fan adoration that borders on worship, teams willing to pay you out-of-control salaries and multi-million-dollar corporations begging you to be their spokesperson and throwing more money at you, it produces an “I’m better than everyone else and the rules don’t apply to me” attitude. Once again, I want it to be clear this doesn’t apply to every professional athlete, only the weaker-minded ones.
There is no easy answer for this issue. Players who admit they have a problem are able to utilize some of the best resources available. Teams go to extreme measures to provide trained doctors and counselors on call around the clock, 365 days a year. Instead of resorting to physical violence or confrontation, I’d suggest they start by picking up the phone and talking to one of these medical professionals.
By doing so, it could eventually save them many things, including their jobs, their families, status among their friends and peers, and perhaps least importantly, respect from fans and sports writers.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Sept. 24-30, 2014, issue