You grew up watching sports to be inspired, just as I did. The hope and possibility of seeing something amazing is always around the corner. Now more than ever the cameras wait to record the next mouth dropping, awe-inspiring moment.
We have all been witness to the birth, rise and creation of legends like Micheal Jordan, Magic Johnson, Drew Brees, Joe Montana and the list goes on. In all the years between Namath and Montana worrying about what we were seeing was authentic or not was something we never did. Then the MLB strike hit and all the cards seemed to begin to wobble.
We heard it in the whispers around McGwire and the chase for Maris in the summer of 1998. It was chasing Lance Armstrong up into the French Alps and down through the Arc de Triomphe seven times. It was that lingering thought in Roger Goodell’s mind (maybe) that was cast aside for a hammer blow to the Saints hopes in 2012 and brought the American public Oprah Winfrey’s latest rating smash. Now it seems in a twist of fate you couldn’t or want to make up it’s bringing Notre Dame slowly to its knees courtesy of Manti Te’o.
The past two decades in American sport has cracked the foundation of American sports. It has consequently ruined the Baseball Writers Association of America for years to come. There were some that cried it was wrong to not let any players in on the recent ballet for Cooperstown after the BWAA made a stark referendum on the slowly fading status of MLB. Some only disagree with this sentiment, while many other simply no longer care. They say baseball is to passion as football is to aggression. Makes you think of the SAT’s you took in high school. Anyway, the National Football League is equally guilty of drinking the Kool-Aid put out by the unreasonable drive to make the most money the fastest.
In an effort to pick up the fans lost by baseball the NFL has pushed player safety aside to convince the almighty dollar that the only real game left in town is football. So far, the NFL has succeeded where baseball has failed and in doing so gained a profit margin that dwarfs some European countries’ GDP. The NFL has 9 Billion reasons to thank baseball and her ineptitude. Or do they? The NFL is now facing lengthy court battles and player safety issues that make Upton Sinclair’s best seller “The Jungle” sound like a manual written by OSHA . After the preventable deaths of some high-profile alumni the last being Junior Seau the NFL looks like they won’t only be cutting the rug come Super Bowl time in New Orleans, but also some checks.
Speaking of New Orleans, their franchise just spent the whole season face down on the mat Manny Pacquiao style. The New Orleans Saints were the subject of the NFL’s commissioner’s philosophy of the cart before the horse. Without a single shred of really evidence Roger Goodell suspended the Saints‘ General Manager, Head Coach, Assistant Coach and several players. This was in an effort to punish the Saints for conduct unbecoming of a team, franchise and players that would hurt the integrity of the game? Right, like the likes of having Ray Lewis, Donte Stallworth, Adam “Pacman” Jones and several others who if not working for the NFL would be buried under the jail speaks volume about your commitment to excellence. What a joke, and the worst part is they (NFL front office) knows it and continues try drive on. In some cases, literally over the bodies of those who they’re players (investments) killed. But who cares right? It’s for the sake of the almighty dollar and the integrity of the game.
Talk about integrity and seeking it, Lance Armstrong apparently didn’t get that added into his chemotherapy treatments. In what we all suspected, the once seven time Tour De France winner was stripped of all his medals and awards only to be left with his pride. In the latest chapter of the “Shamed Cyclist” Lance Armstrong finally gave into the truth. But it’s not for truth’s sake that it is for. Armstrong is still seeking his unenviable goal of unfulfillable pride. How sad and far has this man come. It’ not to make things square with the house, but to seek further glory in future competitions. What’s ironic is that the whole cycling community owes their pay checks to Lance Armstrong. Without Armstrong how many worldwide would even care or know about the Tour de France without the unkillable Texan? Not many I assure you. It’s sad to know that the most who need our support who Armstrong who lifted up are now in question, but we’ll get to that in a minute
In the last chapter of “America the beautiful” apparently sung now by Marilyn Manson the Fighting Irish have been in a short few days been measured and found wanting. I’m not talking about the amateur night vs champion style beat-down they took on the field in the BCS title game, but the disgraced once upheld Manti Te’o. In a bizarre twist of events the parallel universe collided with Manti Te’o's and created Lennay Kekua, the figment of someone’s imagination. What is disturbing is not that the Notre Dame standout out lied, but that he perpetuated it for so long. What did he have to gain for it? A Heisman trophy? A national championship? Who knows or more realistically who cares. In a world full of liars, cheats, thieves, murders and the lowest sort this is what we need to concern ourselves with?
At the end of the day as ESPN spins down from looking for the next cover story for E!News and whoever they feel like touting we are left as empty as a politician’s smile. The American Sports scene looks more like the murder scene at Nicole Brown Simpson’s residence. This time its not two innocent people living their lives who are cut down it’s the hopes and dreams of 311 million people. The truth is the other victim. She has become twisted, distorted, cut, torn and dismembered for the pride of men who see her as a speed bump of inconvenience.
If the pursuit of money and notoriety is what is driving the majority of the sports in the country then the best game in town will continue to not be the one of the fields of play. What heroes are we to point our children and psyche to in hopes of seeing brighter days? It seems all have become fallible and none can withstand the bright lights and neon.
In the end it won’t be the money hungry athletes and stars who end up in ruin. Take a look at McGwire, he now has stepped down from his duties as hitting coach with the St. Louis Cardinals and goes home to his multimillion dollar bank account. It’s funny how much one can truly care about their legacy or not care as long it doesn’t hurt their bottom line. In the other corner lies slowly dying Livestrong . A corporation whose sole purpose is to lay in wait with arms wide open to help those who truly need inspiration, those with cancer. Even worse there are thousand of extremely talented athletes in waiting in the wings who have learned that the only way to truly get noticed is to dress the truth up, mislead her and ultimately drop her off at the corner of reason and money.
- Is Manti Te’o a Liar or a Dupe? (patheos.com)
- Kelly: Move over Lance Armstrong, you’re yesterday’s news (thestar.com)