The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Sports talk-Indiscretions of sportsmen dominating media outlets

By John Garces/sports editor

A star quarterback is indicted for the most brutal of crimes and faces near-certain prison time. Baseball’s most hallowed record falls to an alleged steroid abuser. An NBA referee is indicted on allegations of gambling on and fixing games he officiated.

It hasn’t been the best of summers to be a sports fan.

We all can remember the time when the action in the game was the only thing we read about in the sports pages.

Now, these scandalous events fill sports pages and often are front-page news as well.
What troubles me most is that these athletes, while admired for what they do on the field, often end up being worshipped for their off-the-field antics as well.

Take for example Barry Bonds. The San Francisco Giants’ surly outfielder, who recently broke the 37-year-old home run record of 755 set by Hank Aaron, has often been a lightning rod of controversy.

The record itself was shrouded in controversy because he’s often been linked to steroid usage and is currently in the middle of a lengthy federal grand jury investigation into tax evasion and perjury charges.

His trainer has also served two different sentences in jail for perjuring himself as well, refusing to name names in regard to the on-going federal government steroids investigation surrounding several athletes,including Bonds, his prized client.

Not surprisingly, Bonds’ tainted accomplishment was met with a 10-minute standing ovation, as well as a ceremony, in his home ballpark in Frisco.

In most every other ballpark in America, though, the feat was met with a rousing round of boos. Most average sports fans at home, I believe, just wanted to run to their toilet.

The NBA is dealing with its worst scandal ever these days. Veteran NBA official Tim Donaghy was recently charged with two federal indictments related to his involvement in a gambling ring.

While it is believed that he only bet on a handful of games he officiated last season, he reportedly will offer up the names of as many as 20 other referees who have been involved in gambling.

These events threaten to undermine the integrity of a sport that for years has been rumored by fans to be short of it to begin with because of a seemingly endless barrage of questionable officiating in big games.

By all accounts, though, the allegations by Donaghy seem to be bitter ramblings of a recently fired employee who wasn’t well liked to begin with.

However, no one has had it rougher than the National Football League and its rookie commissioner, Roger Goodell.

Having already dealt with the seemingly endless arrests of Tennessee Titans defensive back Adam “Pac Man” Jones, as well as several off-field run ins with the law by a handful of other players, Goodell and his league now have to deal with a public relations nightmare.

Imagine having one of the faces in your league involved in something so heinous as dog fighting.

Michael Vick, the star QB of the Atlanta Falcons, will likely face jail time in the wake of his acceptance of a plea deal, which will likely save him more charges.

In all likelihood, he will be put in a federal prison for at least a year, which will effectively end his NFL career. Making matters worse, in my opinion, is that Vick appears to just not get it, attempting to get some sort of response out of the NFL before accepting the deal in the end.

For the crimes for which he is accused, jail time is probably not good enough.

Being a star athlete doesn’t excuse his behavior in any case.

Further proof that Vick doesn’t grasp the seriousness of his situation can be seen in a TV clip where Vick, being questioned about his name surfacing in the investigation, responds with, “Everywhere I go, people love Mike Vick.”

This kind of idol worship, I’m afraid, has seen its last days. Vick’s crimes shouldn’t be excused because some people consider him a star.

The history of professional sports in America has seen its fair share of athletes gone wrong.

In most of those cases, however, the indiscretions of many athletes have never threatened to permanently tarnish the sporting landscape as a whole.

After Sept. 11, 2001, sports were seen as a symbol of the recovery of a nation.

Now, many of the same average red-blooded American fans see sports as a symbol of everything that’s wrong with the world today, and, to me, that’s the greatest crime of all.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian