Brent Bozell's culture column this week begins with how the disgusting dog-fighting allegations surrounding football star Michael Vick have united everyone -- conservatives and liberals, theists and atheists, meat-eaters and vegetarians, you name it -- against Vick and his vile animal-killing buddies, if half of that federal indictment is true. They found 17 dog carcasses on his property near Williamsburg, Virginia. Like many, Brent believes new NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will keep Vick off the field this season until he can attempt to clear his name at trial. But, sadly that isn't the only scandalous news out of the sports world:
We should be cheering as we prepare for Barry Bonds to break Henry Aaron’s record of 755 home runs in a career, but we can’t. Bonds is followed by a consistent cloud of steroid-use allegations and the definite possibility of a federal indictment for perjury and tax evasion. Numerous other baseball stars have been accused of, or have admitted to cheating with a variety of different performance-enhancing drugs. It doesn’t help their cases that they somehow manage to get bigger, stronger and faster as they advance in age.
It’s not just baseball. At the British Open, legendary golfer Gary Player charged there was steroid use in pro golf. The annual Tour de France is drowning in suspensions of bicyclists charged with cheating, even including illegal blood transfusions, or “blood doping.” The situation’s so bad that ESPN Radio recently aired a joke newscast about steroids ruining the game of professional darts.
This week’s sports news also included allegations that basketball referee Tim Donaghy was betting on games he was officiating, even possibly consorting with organized crime.
Maybe, just maybe, the public’s had enough of this spectacle. And maybe, just maybe some people in the world of sports are finally going to clean up this sorry spectacle.
Brent urges parents not to be discouraged, that the people running professional sports are working hard to maintain character and competitive integrity in sports, even if it means they draw terrible headlines now in exchange for a cleaner sports world later. People need to remember that the media highlights the baddest apples, and sometimes can obscure the more normal athletes with a healthy sense of right and wrong:
Baltimore Orioles president Andy MacPhail recently addressed the bad taste in the public’s mouth with the Baltimore Sun. “I think if my kids were younger, I would try to remind them that what’s getting all the attention is the exceptions,” he said. “There are a lot of athletes out there who you would be proud to have marry your daughter or your sister.” But with the flood of sports scandal news, they seem like the rule, not the exception.
It’s time for the sports industry to shape up.