Athletes behaving badly
New Year’s resolutions are usually about self-improvement. Some folks resolve to lose weight; others vow to stop smoking. I hope for everyone’s sake that college and professional athletes resolve to stop behaving badly in 2020. Here are just a few recent examples of bad jock behavior:
Ole Miss lost a big game because of a penalty given to their wide receiver, who celebrated in the endzone by pretending to be a urinating dog.
The Washington Redskins’ quarterback failed to show up for a crucial play because he was in the stands taking selfies with fans. A Cleveland Browns player got mad at the Steelers’ quarterback, and instead of yelling, he took off the quarterback’s helmet and hit him in the head with it. Meanwhile, Indianapolis quarterback Chad Kelly got drunk at a bar and assaulted a patron.
Three Georgetown basketball players were arrested for alleged burglary, and for allegedly threatening physical violence against the women they were robbing. And two weeks ago, Carolina Panthers defensive end Vernon Butler was ejected for punching another player, then flipping his middle finger to fans as he left the field. I could keep listing other examples of bad behavior, but there’s not enough space in this entire newspaper to fit them in.
Like so many problems in this country, I wondered if bad behavior by athletes has just become an accepted norm that cannot be remedied. Then I heard about a winning football team that has never had any discipline problems, so I reached out to their head coach, Bryan Davis, to find out about his success with players, both on and off the field.
Jim: How many of your players have ever been in trouble with the law?
Jim: How many of your players regularly attend late-night parties or frequent nightclubs?
Jim: Have any of your players ever assaulted a woman?
Jim: How many of your players have made obscene or pornographic gestures in the end zone?
Jim: Have any of your players ever hit an opposing player in the head with a helmet?
Jim: How many of your players have ever taken cash bribes from boosters?
Jim: Do your players ever use foul language?
Jim: Do your players make gay slurs or racists comments?
Jim: How many of your players have been goofing around taking selfies while they were supposed to be on the field?
Jim: Have you ever had to suspend a player?
Coach: No, never.
Jim: Coach, what is your philosophy and technique for keeping your players focused and out of trouble?
Coach: My coaching philosophy is just to keep them focused on the task at hand, and nothing else matters. They buy into that philosophy because they all want to learn and be better players.
Jim: What is the name of your team?
Coach: The Lewisville Titans.
Jim: And what league do you compete in?
Coach: The Piedmont Youth Football & Cheer League.
Jim: How old are your players?
Coach: We have 40 kids who are age 10 and under.
Jim: Do you think that college and pro athletes could learn something from your players? And if so, what?
Coach: Adult athletes could learn a lot from our players. Our kids are humble and are eager to learn. They don’t focus on “Me, me, me.” Instead, they focus on being the ultimate teammate, and that helps them now as well as later in life.
Well, there you have it, folks. Proof positive that athletes can be well-behaved. So next time you hear someone say that college and pro jocks are role models to kids, you might remind them that it should actually be the other way around.
Jim Longworth is the host of Triad Today, airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11 a.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).