Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why Do We Enable Punks Like This?

I'm not sure what it is about professional sports, but they seem to have more than their fair share of punks.  Case in point: Cowboys talented (but over-rated) Wide Receiver Dez Bryant.  That article says he assaulted his fiance, the report I heard on the radio this morning says it was his mother.  In either case: he's a punk.

And it's not just the Cowboys, though they seem to have a habit of hiring punks, and it's not just Football (Basketball comes to mind).  And I have to ask myself "why?"  Why are punks so over-represented in professional sports?  Heck, the NHL and NASCAR have punks who deserve no success, let alone fame.

Now much of this is the fault of the punks themselves, and their families, friends, and supposed mentors.  There is no excuse for being a punk, and families, friends, and mentors should not put up with punk-ish behavior.  I know if I ever got an attitude with my dad, my face would have ended up on the back of my head.  I suspect that these punks had no such fear or respect for their elders when they were growing up.

But I also suspect much of this comes from the general coarsening of the culture.  Sure, celebrities have been punks, to one extent or another, for much of recorded human history, but we at least used to require them to behave themselves in public.  Whatever bad behavior Frank Sinatra and the boys had, they were expected to keep it out of the public eye.  When scandals occurred, they could be career-ending.  Now, we just shrug, and say, "well, yeah, but the boy can play, and we want that title!"  We've just accepted it.

And now it's migrated to Politicians.  From Eliot Spitzer being offered a national TV show, to Bill "Can't Keep It In My Pants" Clinton still being lionized by the media, to Anthony Weiner even being able to show his face in public, let alone run for office, we've just accepted that these people will behave badly.  So, knowing there won't be any lasting consequences for bad behavior, they behave all the worse.

Now, in the case of sports stars, we don't have much say.  Owners can hire whoever they want, and we can choose to watch or not.  One player's bad behavior is not enough to get me to stop watching my Cowboys play, so Dez Bryant is probably not going to get fired over this- however appropriate that may be.  Politicians, on the other hand, we can influence with our votes and with our attention.  It's time we remembered that, and enforced it.


  1. I would have bought new shirts and other stuff from the Eagles for my hubby and kids if it weren't for Michael Vick. Took myself right off their mailing list when they signed him.

    Drop in the bucket, I know, but I doubt I was the only one.

  2. I think it is the attitude that, as pro athletes, they are above what governs common people and can do as they please. As long as they feel that they have people that will cover up, bail them out, or buy their way out of their problems the behavior continues, unabated. Just look at the whole Penn State debacle. Clearly those in sports, and even those in big business and banking, feel they can act as they please and to hell with law. Just pay the fine and go about your business like nothing happened. No one should be immune from imprisonment for breaking the law, not athletes, not bankers, not CEO's and not politicians.