Friday, February 19, 2010

The Accountibility Of An Athlete

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Greg Oden's apology over nude pictures he sent to his girlfriend. I maintained that, while what he did was kinky, he hadn't really done anything which required him to apologize to the public. A few hours ago, Tiger Woods delivered a 14 minute apology to the public (

HE did do something wrong by cheating on his wife. However, while he owes an apology to his wife and family, probably a series of groveling apologies actually, I'm not completely convinced he owed one to the public. I think he was brave for doing it, and I applaud him for doing so. Yet, we need to over come this idea that sports figures OWE us a certain standard of moral behavior.

When we buy a ticket to a sporting event, we have a right to expect the athletes involved to play the game in question to the best of their ability in order to entertain us. That's it, that's what our ticket gets us. It doesn't give us a license to police their bedrooms.

Before you say, "Well, the old time athletes held themselves to a higher standard," think again. Babe Ruth ran naked through a train chasing a naked lover. Reporters who were on the train never mentioned it, because it had nothing to do with the game.

Some claim athletes are held to a higher standard because they endorse products. Are people really buying energy drinks and shoes based on the sexual/moral habits of the athlete in the commercial? It's more likely, not necessarily more reasonable, that people buy certain shoes and energy drinks with the hope of mimicking the athletic prowess of the particular athlete.

Let me stop a minute to qualify what I'm saying. If an athlete's caught breaking criminal laws such as participating in animal fights, brandishing guns in the locker room, dealing drugs, etc... such players need to be held criminally liable and possibly be banned from their sport. If a player is caught taking performance enhancing drugs or making book on sports such players should be banned from their sport. I simply don't see why athletes need to be held publicly accountable for personal choices.

End Note - I just want to make a quick comment regarding the way some people have labeled Tiger's apology as "insincere," simply because he read a written statement. Of course, he pre-wrote his statement, of course he did. This was an incredibly emotional issue for him to address, and he didn't want to be up there fumbling through his thoughts like some drooling idiot. Having written his statement before hand isn't a sign of insincerity, it's a sign that he's smart.

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