Scandal: a circumstance or action that offends propriety or established moral conceptions or disgraces those associated with it b: a person whose conduct offends propriety or morality <a scandal to the profession>
It seems like everyday I tune into ESPN, there is some type of scandal or controversy happening in the world of sports. Last week, it was the Coach Pitino abortion scandal. Two weeks before that, it was Big Papi’s name being leaked as the one of the 104 to test positive for PEDs, dang, the beginning of this Millennium has truly been scandalous!
All things done in the dark come to the light, right coach?
I remember a time when sports was the thing you could turn to get away from the evils of the world…the ultimate getaway. You came home from school or work and turned on the TV and watch the game. You rooted for your team and your favorite player and the only controversy you had was if your team lost. If your team did lose, you came up with the excuse that the referees cheated for the other team. But now, the refs really are cheating to make certain teams win (…Tim Donaghy anyone?)
If you Google the phrase “sports scandals” you get 15,600,000 hits. If you go to Wikipedia there are 96 pages dedicated to sports scandals and 12 subcategories. Isn’t that a shame? I remember when the only sports scandals people talked about were the 1919 Black Sox scandal and the Pete Rose betting Scandal. Now every week there is a new controversy or scandal….what gives?
Say it ain’t so Big Papi.
Well, we could blame ESPN, and the machine that is 24/7 sports coverage. Back in the day, there wasn’t 24/7 sports channels, analyst giving their point of view, talking heads or sports radio. All we had was the back page of our newspapers and the 5 min sports segment on our local news channels. Back in the day, the journalist had to tell us who won, by how much and the one play that helped seal the deal. Nothing more, nothing less. Hmm…Naw, I don’t’ think ESPN is to blame for the increase in scandals but they do lend a helping hand to stir the pot and to keep fanning the fire.
Okay, let’s blame it on technology. With the ability to go to a team’s website, a player’s website and blog, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, camera phones nothing goes unnoticed. Every thing an athlete does is circulated to every corner of the Earth, to anyone with a wifi connection. All the private indiscretions by our favorite players and coaches are leaked out to the public; surrounding them in controversy and sullying their reputations. But I don’t feel like it’s the advance of technology that really to blame.
I believe the blame should land squarely on the shoulders of our athletes, coaches, GMs and team owners. Because the scandal starts with the individual; if an athlete doesn’t take steroids, doesn’t cheat on their wife with a groupie, drove their car wile intoxicated, cheated on their SATs to get into college, electrocuted and drowned dogs, etc , then there would be nothing to report. The machine that is sports reporting would have nothing to salacious say. The only thing to report would be (gasp) actual sports?!?!
But it’s unfortunate, that our sports stars, our sports heroes are nothing more than people whose moral compasses have a hard time finding true north. And as fans we are left to wonder, what happened to athlete we wanted to emulate?
They can’t really punish D-Rose, but they can strip Memphis of some hard earned wins.
Eighteen years ago, we all wanted to “Be Like Mike.” But is there any athlete we want to be like nowadays? Not really. Because today, it seems as if the players are bigger than the sport; but in the end the scandal is always bigger than the athlete.