Let’s Make A Deal

Is anyone, besides me, getting fed up with prima donna athletes breaking the rules established by their respective leagues, then standing up and emphatically denying that they broke those rules, but when they know the evidence against them is too much to prove their denials to be true and they know it will come out, they make a deal so the original projected punishment gets reduced?

Add to this, the fact that some of the deals concerning suspension are coming at a time when some of those whose names are at the top of the list are injured and some of their suspension is taking place while they are hurt and rehabilitating. Does anyone, besides me, think it is time to roll their pant legs up to their knees for all the fertilizer that is being spread by these athletes?

In case some haven’t read or heard, some athletes in all sports are making headlines for things other than their performances on the diamond, gridiron, court, ice, field, links or in whatever venue where they play their sport.

Numerous arrests of athletes have happened all too frequently in recent months. Charges ranging from DWI/DUI to assault to murder have been imposed on various athletes. Athletes have received suspensions for violating drug policies or for violations of league rules, or in game altercations, only to have those suspensions conveniently reduced or served at a time when there is not really any punishment after all is said and done.

There have been situations when laws have been broken and jail sentences imposed and those sentences scheduled for a time (off season?) when it’s convenient for the team and the athlete.

And how many “Average Joes” are afforded the leeway to violate company drug policies or be arrested and still keep their jobs, let alone be able to be afforded the chances to violate them or be arrested numerous times and just serve suspensions?

In my occupation of teaching, I think the court of public opinion would want a teacher to be dismissed from their job for drug violations, and serve time for breaking laws (and not during summer vacations either).

I’m sure that not too many teachers would be in the classroom very long for the types of violations and infractions that athletes get away with in their careers.

In fairness, many of the suspensions of athletes come without pay during the duration of their suspension. In one recent case, a baseball player who just “plea bargained” his suspension agreed to serve it without pay, meaning he will have to lose approximately $3 million of his $8 million salary until he can play again. I feel sorry for him having to have to live on only $5 million. One might think this could be construed as cruel and unusual punishment.

These situations are not one-sided. If the league in which these prima donnas play doesn’t sit down and figure out how these players can be “punished” and the league still benefit from as much of the player as it can, maybe the credibility of the league wouldn’t be compromised, or the league itself be devalued in the eyes of many “Average Joes.”

There have been some athletes who have been suspended for life and then been given numerous (one baseball player was granted six reinstatements after seven life suspensions) chances to apply for reinstatement after receiving lifetime suspensions.

I’ve noticed that the better college athletes receive game suspensions while the average athletes seem to get dismissed from the teams. Leagues, teams and coaches want the general public to think that they are doing something in the form of discipline, when the punishment equates to a slap on the wrist or no dessert after dinner.

I realize that a team might not win as many games without its “superstar,” but the sport will not suffer. There are many not-as-talented players waiting in the wings for their chance to play and who knows, with a chance, they just might be another Jeremy Lin, Mike Trout, or Kurt Warner, just for having the opportunity. And as I’ve stated many times before, the “superstar” preferential treatment has filtered down from the professional, to college, to high school, to youth league levels.

More than 235 years ago, our forefathers agreed upon a document which stated that all men are created equal.

Maybe it should have stated that they should all be treated equally too.

If you do the crime, you do the time, the same time that “Average Joe” does. If the rule is spelled out and you decide to violate that rule, the punishment should be imposed and not lessened just because the guilty party can throw a football, hit a baseball, shoot a hockey puck, drive a golf ball, shoot a three-pointer, or kick a ball into a net.

I’d rather see a young player, hungry to play the sport they love, make mistakes but appreciate the opportunity they have been given and play the game hard, and with respect for all those who played before them and gave the game the integrity is so richly deserves, rather than see prima donna players who think they’re above the rules go out there and slap their sport, and those who have played it, and do play it by the book, in the face.

I sincerely hope the powers that be stop playing Monty Hall with these athletes asking them if they want the punishment behind Door Number One, Door Number Two, or Door Number Three, or if they’d rather have the consequence in the box on the table.

Maybe then, the athletes will be accountable for their actions knowing that they can’t stand up and flat out lie to their employers, their leagues, and their fans, and we can finally put a steak on the black eye that these prima donnas have given to their sport.