Jordan Bean | Sacked
A lesson learned
Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 08:09
Welcome back to year two of Sacked! For anyone new to the column, I sift through a week’s worth of sports stories to pick out those which I deem most worthy of being ‘sacked’ and give you, the reader, an in-depth analysis and ways to improve the situation.
Over the course of the summer, I learned a very valuable lesson about us, the sports viewers. No matter the circumstances, we are willing to defend and forgive our athletes in exchange for one simple thing: production.
Any number of situations helped bring me to this realization. Whether it was Yankees fans clamoring for Alex Rodriguez to be suspended for the rest of his life (or was that just me?) or the media talking nonstop about Johnny Manziel signing autographs, scandals loom large in the moment.
However, it’s amazing how quickly this can all change when a player hits a homerun or throws for a touchdown. Now, I’m not saying I still don’t want A-Rod suspended for the rest of his career, but for the time being, I’m content looking the other way while the Yankees make a surge for the second wild card spot.
With Manziel, the story of his offseason had been exhausted. From the courtside seats, celebrity meetings and autograph fiasco, I thought ESPN might just keep a camera on him every step of his life — kind of like CBS did this past Saturday. However, after his laughable one-half suspension, the talk shifted from infractions and consequences to touchdowns and wins.
Ryan Braun, following his finger-pointing, adamant statement defending himself against his positive drug test, quickly reclaimed his spot as a fan favorite when he took the field the next spring and produced again for the Brewers. That is, before he was officially found guilty of substance abuse and deservedly took his suspension.
A pattern has developed for players who find themselves on the wrong side of public opinion, and it turns out there’s a very easy remedy to fix that.
After committing the act, a public apology is expected. The perpetrator will usually appear sincere enough — but not too sincere as to make it look fake — admitting nothing, but apologizing for everything. Through this, they acknowledge guilt but still remain ambiguous enough that we don’t know for sure what they did wrong.
Next, they accept the penalty and allow themselves to fade into the background while the next big story takes the lead on SportsCenter. They come in the next preseason, tell the media they are “moving on” or “looking forward” and proceed to put up big numbers while the fans sit back, basking in the glory of their team winning.
This brings up an interesting, deeper question. How much are we willing to forgive before we realize it’s bigger than our team winning a handful of games? Ray Lewis allegedly murdered someone, yet the stories now are about what a great motivator and leader he is. Michael Vick was immersed in a dog-fighting ring, and all we hear about is Chip Kelly’s new offense that he’s at the helm of. Alex Rodriguez consistently cheated the game and his fans, but when he trots out to third base after reenergizing the Yankees’ season, he’s met with many more cheers than a few short months ago.
Ultimately what this leads to is: the next time your favorite player returns from a suspension to take his first snap, step up to bat or throw down the first dunk, will you be cheering for the value he adds to your team or stay true to the same morals you hold yourself to? Either way, the blame still goes to the players committing the actions, because without them, there’s no discussion in the first place. So, until next time, players — you’re sacked!
Jordan Bean is a sophomore who has not yet declared a major. He can be reached at Jordan.Bean@tufts.edu.