Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sports- going to seed

"Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio? Your place has been taken by thugs and crooks and cheats."

Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle is lamenting the sad state of our athletes and one official. It sure make for an eye-catching headline. And there is no better way to make fans feel better than pointing out the many foibles of millionaires.

But, um, isn't there more to the story than these people are bad and evil and must be stopped? I think I can figure that out by myself. If I am reading a column I want more than "Dog fighting is wrong and should not be tolerated." How about at least some info about the ASPCA or some detail about the mental and emotional state of a person who engages in dogfighting.

Now, in Mr. Justice's defense, yesterday he had a glowing column about how great Craig Biggio has been for the last 20 years, and how Biggio is the true embodiment of a great player, family man, and role model.

But Mr. Justice is ignoring many facts. Back in the good ole days, Babe Ruth was a womanizing drunk, Joe DiMaggio was a wife beater, and NBA referees and college basketball players were involved in gambling scandals (in fact, NFL Hall of Famer Paul Hornung missed a year of pro football due to a gambling suspension). The 1980's gave us a wide variety of recruiting scandals with "under the table" money in college football, while basketball and baseball had a cocaine problem. Bad news is not new. Overblown coverage with preachy columnists is new.

By the way, Houston Texans running back Ahman Green paid for someone's down payment on a home last week, in exchange for a jersey number. Teammate Jason Simmons and team owner Bob McNair were involved as well. In other news, the afore mentioned Craig Biggio spends a lot of time raising money for kids with cancer (see this link to help Craig help kids!!)

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