It bothers me that college athletes who have a free education and don’t take advantage of it by getting into trouble. How many times an athlete gets into trouble for either a robbery, underage drinking, false checks, stealing or assaulting a woman. How tough it is for coaches to bring these athletes to their universities and found out about an off the field or court incident. It embarrassing for everyone involved, and it poses a question how many second chances should an athlete receive. Some coaches have a zero tolerance policy, but others wait and see if there are any charges against the athlete. There are no easy answers to these questions.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed Michael Vick to be the backup quarterback. He well documented arrest for abusing dogs and going to federal prison. This is not the first time that the Steelers were interested in Vick because they wanted to sign him in 2010, but Ben Roethlisberger has is own legal issues so they decided not to. I remember a lot Steelers fans wanted Roethlisberger traded or cut during his legal problems. He turned his life around and the fans forgave him. Vick has turned his life around, and could help them win a few games if he comes in. A lot of players have gotten second chance and turned out great, but some didn’t.
Barry Bonds will not go to jail because the Feds have dropped the charges of perjury against him. However, he should not go into Baseball Hall of Fame because there is a matter of rule five. Rule five stands for the character clause that prevents a player from getting elected for violating sportsmanship, and integrity of the game. Bonds, Roger Clemens, and other players who used PEDs cheated the game and the fans. Pete Rose who is all-time hit leader bet on baseball and it compromised the game’s integrity by being associated with gamblers. There is an expression know as the ends justified the means, but in these cases it doesn’t. The game should have to stay clean and the integrity can not be compromised.
Auto Racing is dealing with another tragedy as Indy Car driver Justin Wilson was hit with debris in a race at the Pocono Speedway Sunday afternoon, and Wilson went into a coma. Wilson was hit in the head with debris from a crash that involved Serge Karam and died this evening. Why does it take a tragedy for Indy Car, NASCAR, and Formula 1 to increase safety measures? This happened four years after 2011 Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon dies at Las Vegas Speedway in an accident, and Formula One driver Jules Bianchi was in a coma after an accident during the Japanese Grand Prix last October, and he died on July 17th. NASCAR has dealt with accidents that shorten the careers or killed drivers. The 2001 Daytona 500 accident that killed Dale Earnhardt SR forced NASCAR to increase safety measures such a soft barriers and the HANS device that protects the head and neck from the full impact of a crash. Indy Car and Formula 1 should adopt a canopy over the cockpit to protect the driver’s head. Race car drivers understand the dangers associated with their sport and accept it as part of the job.
I heard about Cris Carter doing a video at the 2014 NFC Rookie Symposium about having a fall guy in case of an off the field incident. A fall guy is member of a rookie NFL player’s entourage who would take the fall so the player would not get into legal trouble. This would cheapen a friendship and treat that person like a transaction. Carter would apologize via twitter for the video but you can’t totally blame him for what is going on with the NFL. The real blame is the NFL culture in which players are elite, above the law, and protected from off the field problems via fixers. Fixers are team security officials and off duty police officers and sometimes agents are also involved. The NFL rookie symposium should be avoid problems, and not using a fall guy to protect the athlete from getting into trouble. It is up to the rookie players to reform the football culture and not be a reminder of the narrow-minded culture.
In the past few months I had the chance to watch the U.S Women Soccer team win the World Cup and at the same time have a great connection with the fans, The first two games on the Victory Tour has played to great crowds and wins over Costa Rica. The thing I love is that they sign autographs after games, pose for pictures, and talk to their fans. Back in May they established a program called #She Believes that inspiring the hopes and dreams of young girls. They went to their home towns and did soccer clinics plus had talks to young girls. They are role models and unlikely some male athletes they embrace that responsibility fully. They are refreshing example in a sport that has made news for corruption, and should be recognized as Sportsmen of the Year are you listening Sports Illustrated.
The National Labor Review Board has reversed its decision and denied the Northwestern Football team the right to have a union. The union wanted to have a say so in medical coverage, taking care of tuition, room and board, and the university would have recognized them as employees.. What will happen now will they give up or fight on in another way. It is about time that the NCAA should stop this fraud of amateurism and pay college athletes. College football and basketball are the biggest money makers in college sports and fund non-revenue,plus Olympic sports. How do you divide billions of dollars between college athletes, and what about the ramifications of Title IX. Who will would get the lion share of the money either basketball or football. How much will non-revenue sports and will some smaller colleges have to cut sport teams. Hopefully the NCAA will make some changes but I am not holding my breath.
James Harrison make news for making big plays on the football field, but in a instagram post he made news in different way. He returned his sons participation trophies to their coach. He wanted them to earn trophies for their athletic success and not just for participating on a team. If you want to reward kids for playing on a team take them to get some ice cream or something else. Trophies are won by winning on the field and nothing else. I understand that some coached break rules to win, and that is wrong. Most coaches teach values as well as winning games, and you can both. These days society doesn’t want kids to lose or failure because it would hurt their self-esteem. I feel that the wrong way of doing things, and kids have to learn about failure and losing in order to build their character.
Today was the first game for the United States Women’s Soccer team Victory Tour with an 8-0 win over Costa Rica at Heinz Field. In front of record-breaking crowd of 44,028 the U.S dominated an over matched Costa Rica team. Now they have 9 other games on this tour and have to get the team ready for The 2016 Summer Olympics. The Olympic roster is 18 players there a lot of players who have to show Head Coach Jill Ellis they belong on the squad. One of the example of this is the backup goaltender and who can come in for Hope Solo. For players like Alex Morgan and Kristen Press who didn’t play a lot in the World Cup both have to show they can be counted on for the Olympics next summer. Another question is will Abby Wambach play for the team next summer and the coaching staff has to have some serious talks with some players.
During the NFL regular season teams have to deal with distractions whether it is players get injured, or deal with off the field issues. This season the St.Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders, and San Diego Chargers are dealing with the rumors of moving to Los Angeles for next season. Either one or two of these teams will be in Southern California and the fan bases are not dealing with this very well. New stadium deals are being discussed and in the Raiders case they are now reports of them going to San Antonio for a short-term stay while Los Angeles is building a new stadium. How will these teams deal with this and try to have a good season. The Rams and Chargers are considered playoff teams, and the Raiders have a new coach in Jack Del Rio. I see the Rams and Chargers being wild card contenders with the Raiders winning 5 games this season.