SPORTS SCANDALS REALLY AREN’T
Lance Armstrong used steroids.
Then lied about it.
Then he talked to Oprah.
We’re cool. Right?
Jerry Sandusky lied about despicable acts.
And so did more or less everyone he worked with.
And his employer.
Manti Te’o lied about…something. We know for sure it was related to a girlfriend he did or didn’t have for reasons that had to do with the Heisman Trophy.
Or the NFL.
Or his sexual orientation.
Or just to punk football fans.
Notre Dame may or may not have known anything.
Who the hell knows?
Also, what the hell is “catfishing”?
That’s the thing with sports scandals. Sports seasons play out – new million-dollar contracts, wins, losses, trades. Every once in a while a scandal erupts. We all wring our hands and express our outrage at the immorality of some and the besmirching of the good name of sportsmanship. Then things go back to normal.
And not much changes.
Then there’s another scandal, we decry the injustice and move on. Scandals have pervaded sports forever. The 1919 Black Sox scandal to paying college athletes to the latest spate of indignities among our athletes and the people who are supposed to be looking out for them. We shouldn’t pretend it never happens and act like we’re shocked when it does. It happens all the time.
The problem with organized sports is not the sports part. Sports are great – teamwork, sportsmanship, athleticism. The problem with organized sports is the organized part. Coaches. Managers. Owners. Committees and boards. Money. Prestige. Power.
Organize kids into football teams, but ignore chronic concussions. Spend way more on college athletic programs than you do on books and professors, and use the power money brings you to cover up the crimes of your coaches, while treating your athletes like spoiled, overpaid professional athletes, instead of like the young kids who are supposed to be getting an education that they are. Put professional athletes on TV, give the players multi-million dollar paychecks for chasing a ball and do ANYTHING IT TAKES to keep the cash coming.
I didn’t watch the Armstrong interview, but I can tell you how it went. Oprah preached a little. Armstrong spent the whole thing with a smile plastered on his face. Oprah asked him something like, “Dude, you lied, didn’t you?” Armstrong responded, mildly indignant, “Well, yeah, but not really. ’cause everybody does it. I feel bad, sure, but mostly about getting dogged all those years and caught.” Sorry…but not sorry. Sorry only to the extent necessary to rehab his reputation. Oprah concluded, I imagine, with some sort of vague, “Isn’t it a shame,” type coda and then credits rolled.
Keep your seats in the stadium, sportsball fans. Don’t even get up for an eight dollar beer. The next scandal is on the way.