Physical abuse among professional football players continues to occupy many in the media. While I don’t condone the behavior being reported, I also don’t condone CNN and others using such tragedy to drive their ratings numbers. Rather than droning on and on about the salacious details, why not report more substantively about the story…behind the story.
Who are these men recruited for their prowess on the playing field? Where do they come from? How were they raised?
I would imagine many of them, especially the black athletes, hail from inner cities where crime is rampant. They were probably parented by a single mother, or a grandmother. If the family did include a father, it’s more than likely he wasn’t a positive role model. Of course there are exceptions to this scenario. Unfortunately, they are just that…exceptions.
Whether these disadvantaged, young men naturally excel at sports or make it their life’s goal to get hired as professional athletes, their lives have not prepared them to make the leap from impoverished backgrounds to wealth beyond their wildest imaginings.
Unless their personal background issues are resolved satisfactorily, the behavior of these men off the playing field cannot help but be at odds with society.
Money, lots of money, doesn’t buy morals. These are learned over all of one’s life, not in the blink of an eye.
Whom do we blame? There’s more than enough to go around. The player for his own actions. The owners, managers, and coaches for not holding their players to acceptable behavior on and off the field. Sponsors who pay exorbitant amounts of money for the persona, without knowing the full measure of the person. The fans who elevate the players to demi-gods who can do nothing wrong, as long as they bring home the Super Bowl Trophy.
Professional sports players bear the burden of fame and celebrity. Like it or not, they are also icons for millions of youngsters who yearn to follow in the footsteps of these men.
In the days of ancient Rome, no one asked about the gladiator’s personal history before sending him into the arena. Who cared? As long as he provided great entertainment while battling his foe.
…are we so different?