Posts Tagged ‘lax academic standards’
# More of this, please. I have a good buddy who finds this sort of behavior reprehensible. I can’t get enough of it. Firstly, as a colleague of mine would say, “This isn’t the effing Pentagon.” It’s football; it’s entertainment. Chad Ochocinco is an entertainer. Secondly, it’s not like Ochocinco called Darrelle Revis a bad father; he didn’t call him a tax cheat; he didn’t insinuate that he was a lousy tipper. He engaged in a little banter about the kids’ game that they both play once a week for millions of dollars a year. If Darelle Revis can’t handle it (and I’m positive that he can), he should get into another line of work.
Critics of players like Ochocinco and Terrelle Owens and similar blowhards sometimes argue about how these guys set a bad example, and that they show poor sportsmanship. I’m not going to address how sports figures shouldn’t be role models for anyone. And I’ll only briefly address how overrated the concept of sportsmanship is. Or, should I say, the concept that we should be looking to professional sports stars as examples of sportsmanship. (Which, I suppose, is related to the first point that I said I wasn’t going to address. Funny how that sort of thing happens.) The single-minded focus, egomania, and determination involved in reaching the pinnacle of athletic competition, in my eyes, disqualifies pro athletes from being any sort of examplars of what we’ve come to call “good sportsmanship.” I mean, think about how many wideouts Chad Ochocinco had to vanquish, at every level of his career, to get to the point where he’s the number one wide receiver for a playoff-bound team. The same goes for every pro athlete. They’ve undoubtedly had to do things that normal Joes like you or I would never even dream of attempting in order to get where they are; that’s why they’re pro athletes, and we’re normal Joes. All of this is to say, we expect them to be good sports, too? I think athletes should for sure receive positive attention when they display good sportsmanship; but we should come to expect trash-talking, boasting, and excessive celebration as something that comes with the territory, as opposed to something that we frown upon. This is just me talking, but I think as a consumer of professional sports and a patron on professional sports’ various advertisers, I’m owed a good show more than a bunch of juiced-up freaks trying to be good sports. Sportsmanship isn’t something that’s learned from watching dudes on TV: it’s learned on the actual field of play.
# Less of this, please. I’m not going to bury Mike Leach, since I’m sure there’s still a lot of investigating to do w/r/t Adam James’s allegations against him. I’m going to speak, via setting up a series of strawmen, to the larger story of how college athletes in general are mistreated by a system that makes hundreds of millions of dollars off their free labor, and how what they receive in return is less than a drop in the bucket. Now, I understand that some people might see big-time college athletics (we’ll focus on football) as sort of trade school for the professional ranks, so theoretically their big payday is just deferred a few years down the line, and the stuff they have to put up with in college is well worth it. Of course, the number of college football players who actually make it to the NFL, let alone have productive careers, is so self-evidently and intuitively infinitesimal that I won’t even bother linking to or even looking up the statistics. (How’s THAT for argument?) Another argument is that athletes are compensated via the education they receive, sometimes for free. It’s great that some kids who might not get the opportunity to receive a college education do so via their athletic skills. But how compromised does that education get when practices and games and training take athletes out of the classroom, or the threat of losing one’s scholarship if one doesn’t do what one’s coach says (like, say, get locked in a storage shed) hangs like the sword of Damocles over the heads of marginal players.
In any event, college kids playing varsity sports are most certainly not equivalent to pro athletes, no matter what anyone says about the quality of play at the upper echelons of competition or the absurdity of the modern-day idea of the “student-athlete.” If Wade Phillips wants to lock Tony Romo in a supply closet, well, great: they’re both grown men, being paid millions of dollars. Tony Romo isn’t a kid. Adam James is. Ivan Maisel, in the article above, wrote “whatever happened to wide receiver Adam James regarding his treatment for a concussion he suffered in practice two weeks ago, it is clear athletes are less likely than ever to stand for mistreatment in order to be team players.” I hope he’s right!
# And finally, give me a fucking break, Alabama.