Have you ever seen the media force an open wound so much, that a secondary non-field related issue, turns into a botched amputation? Steroids in baseball is an issue that's driven by the media -- not the players, not the owners, not league officials. It's reminded to us with each swing of Barry Bonds' bat chasing, perhaps, the most recognizable statistic in professional sports today. Yes, I think Bonds is slime. Yes, I tire of the constant reminders of the suspicion of use. Yes, I tire with all stories that include the use of steroids simply because it's the main draw for ESPN.
Where there's baseball's madness of 'roids controversy, there's football's conduct issues. The mainstream media keeps saying, "nope, Roger didn't say anything yet" It's almost a daily occurrence while reminders are sent for the evils that Pacman Jones and Chris Henry have done. Again, I don't support their actions, but we hardly need to be reminded of that during the introduction to SportsCenter or some mindless yokel in the USA Today or the Pittsburgh Gazette.
Sadly, the narrow-minded media fails to understand the root of the problem. Punishing the players is like throwing someone in jail. Sure, it's a quick solution to get him out of your hair. But you hope that he "learns his lessons". If that fails, you punish more and more and more until he either gets it or is put away for life. Either way, it takes little effort other than the slamming of a gable on an oak wood desk.
I don't fully blame the players for their actions. Sure, some players irresponsible and unappreciative. But I'm not supporting nor defending their actions. And yes, you can have it both ways -- as long as you understand the root of the problem. And no, I'm not talking about installing a social service for troubled youth -- the government takes enough of your money to run those services.
As long as players are allowed to do what they want with their "get out of jail" celebrity card, nothing will change. Implement a tougher discipline system, and you'll likely change perspectives -- but not actions. In an emotional moment, people don't think of their consequences because rational thought is overrun with whatever emotion that consumes someone. You can say, "we're going to be tougher" all you want. But if you want to clean up the league, then do it preemptively at the root rather than in reaction to a public relations disaster -- which just appears to be "for show".
If you feel the need to blame someone for this, I offer two suggestions:
- Ownership. Scouts. Coaches. The people that draft these "red flags" deserve every much of the blame as do the players. If there's a true desire to change the league's image problem casting aside talent, then owners, GMs and coaches should do their part by not bringing these players into the league. Or is there a double standard here?
- The media for super-charging the issue so much. No matter what decision is made, the issue will never go away... even after a reasonable solution. Because hindsight Monday morning quarterbacking will be the rage.
I know. You really want to complain about the players because they are the one's doing these things -- except for a late-night Wendy's stop. And I agree, coaches can't play the role of mothers. So what do you do? Threaten their livelihood? Might work for some. But with the 'roid raging madness in baseball, we're still seeing players getting caught. But you can only blame the players so much while searching for permanent solutions.
If these type of characters never make the NFL, then where's the problem?