Overall the world of sports has taken the biggest hit over the past 10 years. All the achievements and milestones get tarnished.
Headlines, full of scandals, players disregarding the status of being role-models, and the once respected title of professional athlete has taken a fall.
Could the problem be the super-sized contracts used to attract young athletes in a direction before they have even proven their own worth?
It definitely plays a part in it.
Moreover, the fans who make these athletes rich and give them their god-like status feel like players are using them, instead of embracing them.
The trust once based on pure admiration, that was once given without question from fans might never recover to what it once was.
In Part Two of WHAT A DECADE, let’s recap the scandals, which have now crippled the sports world forever.
Here are some of the stories, in which an athlete will be remembered by his person, not his profession:
1) America’s past-time, a sport with a history spanning the last century, and the idea of dad’s taking their sons to a ball-game making it the example for the American family.
Sadly, Major League Baseball took a dive into an empty pool, but still holding an infamous list that somehow still managed to get wet.
Steroids, also known as PED (performance enhancing drugs) were a virus that spread so fast and too easily, becoming a norm across the sport. This was as much as the players faults, as it was MLB’s executives who just turned their heads at any thought of this fact.
Until 2004, their was no written rule in baseball stating what constitutes cheating with regards to PED use, This seems only to have been ignored for baseball’s popularity. By keeping player’s talents and skills on the rise, it enhanced and attracted more fans, which means more money for the sport.
The infamous random drug testing done across baseball in 2003, was supposedly given to prove PED’s overwhelming use. The stories make it sound like it was as common to take steroids, as using Bengay on a sore muscle. Scarily, many players did it right in the locker room and discussions were open dialogues amongst players.
The compiled list of positive players was never to have had names on it. Declared as sealed by the Supreme Court granting the above to forever remain closed and anonymous for its purpose served was for survey use and that is exactly what it did.
Since 2004, the leaking of different names from this list has sparked more tragedy, then a future of hope. These were names like, Roger Clemens, Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez, the most remarkable players to ever play.
The concept of making baseball the clean game it has professed itself being, to finally actually be the truth. For fans hearts broke everywhere and the damage might be too deep to repair but that should make baseball try even harder.
Sadly, players who have done it the right way, now are part of the decade fueled by steroids, not by baseball.
2) Family first, living legend, sponsors like NIKE, Gillette, Tag Heur, Gatorade, Buick was the life of professional golfer Tiger Woods.
This could be renamed, WHAT CAN CHEATING DO FOR YOU?
Woods is most well-known athlete alive today, and probably ever in history.
Athletically, the past decade was magnificent for Tiger. Personally matched that of his golf. He married a gorgeous model and had two beautiful children. Life was not just good for Tiger, it was great.
In the early morning of November 27, 2009 the world got to see a side of Tiger that was so outrageously uncharacteristic, it makes it questionable what had occurred.
Woods had a car accident in front of his house, barefoot and injuries that needed hospital treatment. What unraveled in the aftermath is that our hero was a cheating, pill-pooping husband and father. The image portrays one of a liar and a coward. Tiger has not been seen or heard from since the 10+ women he cheated on his wife with have come forward.
Tiger has only addressed the world via his website, which I doubt he even wrote. One’s real true self in this case are on display for all to judge.
Tiger Woods asks for respect for his privacy of his family, kinda of ironic considering the lack of respect he has shown them. Woods owes the fans who make him rich and popular an explanation. It’s easy being a celebrity when times are good, but it’s not his right to choose when it’s convenient for him.
The teenagers who have his posters on their wall, wear his NIKE clothing and drink his Gatorade drink deserve to hear it from the horse’s mouth. No one disagrees that public figures deserve privacy, but to hide-out makes people get angry. Fans feel used as they should because Tiger is not the man we thought he was.
At least if Woods came forward and spoke to the world as a regular guy who made some horrible choices, he might seem more human. The weekend following that November morning, Woods had his annual golf tournament for his own charity which he didn’t show-up too.
The game of golf itself will take such a nose dive without their greatest player, as Woods has taken a break indefinitely and it all just adds to his total lack of respect.
Tiger Woods will now leave his mark in history as the man who almost was the greatest athlete ever. It’s the way a man loses that makes fans never want to forget.
Sadly, for Tiger maybe he will never have the mental game to play the sport again.
Vick for dog fighting and Burress for shooting himself accidentally.
At the time, Vick was the QB for the Atlanta Falcons and watching him play was like watching ESPN’s plays of the week. Vick was that good. When not playing football, Vick’s hobby was dog fighting. Dog fighting that entailed running a ring in his back yard that housed around a hundred dogs. It was so overwhelming to see that Vick’s disregard for the law and more so for animals was clear.
Vick has now served a three-year sentence and has found a home back in the game that made him so famous, on the Philadelphia Eagles. Thus far Vick is taking the minor role the team has granted him and is thankfully humble about the second chance he has gotten.
For Plaxico, the star wide receiver for the New York Giants just started a three and a half-year sentence that might not have the same ending as Vick.
On November 28, 2008 Plaxico, along with teammate Antonio Pierce was out partying in a night club. For personal protection, Burress had a gun underneath his sweatpants. By utter bad luck, the gun slipped down his sweatpants and went off shooting a through his own leg. Pierce and Burress tried to cover it up by not reporting the incident to police which surely did not help in the long run. The unlicensed gun just added fuel to the fire which lead to Plaxico to the sentence above and his career remains uncertain.
Sadly, a second chance for Burress is not likely due to age and Burress past track record with the law. Hopefully, these examples will be lessons learned for the rest of the NFL to not think they are ever above the law.
4) Michael Phelps smokes not only the competition in the pool but also likes to smoke pot too. Phelps had his picture taken at a party smoking out of a bong on November 6, 2008.
This was just months after winning eight metals in the Beijing Olympic Games and might impact Phelps future participation to add to his collection in the 2012 games. There is a four-year ban for athletes who get caught using drugs by the World Anti-Doping Agency but still have not heard if Phelps will be held accountable.
Phelps’s partying has gotten him in hot water before, as at age 19 a sentencing to a 12 month probation for a DWI.
Phelps took total responsibility and apologized to the world which took major courage for him to do. Since, there have been no other news stories other than swimming related involving Phelps. It is doubtful that his off the field partying will ever be a problem for the swimmer again, as Phelps seemed pretty affected by the incident.
Overall, this headliner is not uncommon for 23 year-olds at a college party. The difference is Phelps knows he is not just a regular guy and owes the world not to behave like one.
5) Remembering how much respect the NBA has lost overall this past decade is pretty upsetting. In 2003 when the sports certified biggest star, LA Lakers Kobe Bryant in trouble. While in Colorado for surgery Kobe got accused of allegedly raping a 19-year old hotel employee.
The only fact here is that they did spend the night together but whether this girl was actually raped or if she just wanted her 2 seconds of fame will go unanswered. Kobe never had to face criminal charges because the woman dropped the charges, but she did not drop the civil case.
The rumored number was around $5 million, which makes the woman’s case very suspect to taking advantage of a situation. Kobe was also married and a father to his first daughter at the time but his wife stuck by his side. In turn Kobe gave his loyal wife a $4 million dollar ring, and later on a re-commitment ceremony of their wedding vows.
Kobe never shied away, as the star held a news conference and was crying as he apologized. Regardless of what actually happened, Kobe admitted to everything upfront and this makes any celebrity a more real character.
Kobe Bryant was human and made a mistake, as no rape charges or trial ever accrued. By no means should this have gone on in the first place, but it did.
If Kobe had dropped out of basketball, locked himself in his home, refused to talk to police and disregarded his family the outcome of his future would have been much different.
Since then, Kobe still married to the same woman, has another daughter and never has his name been involved with off the court antics again.
In 2008 Kobe went on in winning the NBA’s MVP award, took home a gold metal for the USA Men’s Basketball Team and won his fourth championship ring, along with he series MVP honors in 2009 season.
Today, Kobe Bryant sponsors read the power-houses like NIKE, Coca-Cola, Spalding to name a few, and is still kicking butt on the basketball court as the captain of the LA Lakers.
Tiger Woods should take some notes and watch Kobe’s video above.
Well, it’s easy to claim you aren’t a celebrity, but than don’t act like you are one.
It is that simple.
If you want regular-person status than act like one. Athletes and movie stars can avoid the spotlight, if they desire too.