Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Two kinds of assholes 

There are assholes in the world of sports, and there are athletes who are assholes in the "real world." I'm tired of one type getting slammed in the media, while the other typically gets a pass.

For instance, Terrell Owens is clearly a loudmouth and a cruddy teammate who deserves the negative sports press that he gets. Then there's Yankees pitcher Randy Johnson -- who, it seems we can safely say, is a shitty human being.

Which is worse?

Clearly, actions on the field or in the clubhouse will grab sports headlines because...well, they're sports headlines. T.O's actions affected the Eagles' wins and losses. But it seems the results of the way sports is covered are a bit unfortunate. That is, it's OK to cover sports stories that destroy a player's reputation as a person.... but reporters will consistently shy away from stories about players' personal lives that could shed true light on what kind of people they are. I don't think you'll see the Randy Johnson story getting much press.

Is it just because people don't care about what athletes do as long as it doesn't hurt the team? Maybe. Except they often seem awfully concerned about what kind of "role model" a guy is. T.O. is a poor role model for kids, I've heard numerous times. Is being a good teammate all there is to being a "role model?" How about, say, not heartlessly shunning your illegitimate child for 16 years, then suing her mother for what amounts to pocket change to you?

In my book, if T.O. is booed when he steps onto the field, then Randy Johnson should be booed too. I can root for an obnoxious guy who can be quite a lot of fun. I can't root for a despicable person. But maybe that's just me.

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