Saturday, November 26, 2005

Professional Sports

Terrell Owens, who I'll admit is a great receiver, has been suspended for the remainder of the Philadelphia Eagles NFL season. His accomplishments have, unfortunaely for him, been overshadowed by his bad behavior, including not speaking to the offensive coordinator (the guy creating the plays for his "department" if you will) and all-around rudeness to teammates, including quarterback Donovan McNabb, the "executive vice-president" if you will.

Then, there's the buzz around cleaning up the NBA. From the off-court dress code to player behavior, NBA commish David Stern wants to create a friendlier NBA -- how about lowering ticket prices, Dave?

Both the business with Owens and the NBA off-court dress code affect star players who are predominantly Black. And, for some reason, Rev. Jesse Jackson, who to me, has jumped the shark, is actually weighing in. Rev, you used to be viable. Now, you're just another jackleg preacher with a chick and child on the side. Have a seat and be quiet. The first thing too many folk want to do is call the reform racism. Sigh.

Why is it that when people are expected to behave well, and they happen to be Black, a behavioral change is automatically racist? Does that mean that all of us are ill-behaved? The issues around bad boy behavior in professional sports are partially the fault of fans, for fans don't really like quiet, modest players, despite their skills, but mainly the fault of the players themselves. They've made a choice to wild out. T.O. didn't have to utter a word outside of team meetings, but he did. Ron Artest flew off the handle when he jumped into the stands to beat up a fan who threw beer on him -- he should have left security to deal with those clowns who got what they deserved by being barred from stadium events. And what's so bad about being asked to wear a jacket and slacks when appearing in front of fans or the media? We are talking about professional sports. Professional means for hire. If you worked at a corporation with a dress or behavioral code (and many corporations are asking employees to sign ethics code agreements), that you ignored, you'd be fired. Your skill doesn't excuse you from adhering to company policy. If it's so painful to you, quit. If you don't like management, work up your resume and go work for someone else. But don't bite the hand that feeds you and expect to keep being fed.

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