Its all about the money, not about the game

Entitlement of athletes is running rampant in our society. From youth all the way to the professional leagues, athletes now have expectations of how they will be treated. From my experiences coaching high school football, many of the teenagers want to be “coddled” and “pampered”, given playing time not earning it. However, it doesn’t get better as they grow up, it only gets worse.

As many people are aware, college athletics is littered with problems. Reggie Bush took money from an agent while at USC and eventually had to give back his Heisman. Star receiver for the Georgia Bulldogs, A.J. Green sold his own game jersey and was forced to sit out games. Memphis Tigers star Derrick Rose didn’t even have to take his own SAT’s to become eligible to play. Yet, the NCAA doesn’t do anything in a quick fashion.

Just like when Cam Newton is accused of “selling himself” to colleges after his brief stint playing Junior College football. The NCAA and Auburn both knew of the allegations but nothing came out about it until he was the Heisman front-runner. Then all of a sudden, it was a big deal.

I’m not here to argue whether Cam Newton was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to go to Auburn and not Mississippi State. That’s not the issue. The issue is how the culture of sports is no longer about winning and losing for the athletes. Now, it’s the “What can you do for me?” basis. The players are looking for more then just playing time and a college scholarship.

I can’t blame the star athletes for feeling this way either. Auburn University is making millions of dollars off of Cam Newton’s athletic ability, selling merchandise and game tickets, plus new booster support. I can easily see why Newton would want more compensation for his domination of college football.

My problem is with the allegations themselves. The mere fact that someone is hinting at Cam Newton asking for money, means coversations involving money exchanged occurred. The scariest part is that this happens more often then we even hear about. No more are sports about the love of the game. It’s a business now.

Yet, the athletes still think they are entitled to do whatever they want. Tiger Woods did it. Brett Favre is guilty. And most recently, and dare I say it most shockingly so is Tony Parker.

Woods’ transgressions were the most extreme and dare I say it most ridiculous. Brett Favre’s were more shocking, since he seemed the most like a family man. Finally, Tony Parker’s were the most stupid. No one will ever understand why Parker would risk losing a celebrity wife like Eva Longoria to have text conversations with Brent Barry’s wife.

The proof of entitlement is in the evidence. Woods and Parker had stunning wives, yet still went astray. They felt like they could do whatever they want since they were athletes.

But, while they should be blamed for their actions so too should society. For many years, everyone from fans, coaches, schools, and organizations have put up with questionable actions from athletes just because they are amazing physical specimens. Pittsburg Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant are accused of taking advantage of young women but a year months/ years later nobody even cares or remembers because they have won championships for their respective teams.

This trend doesn’t seem to be changing for the better, in fact only getting worse. Its happened for decades and will continue to get worse, especially with how athletes are being brought up.

When I was in high school, a player on my team had his mom pad his stats to make himself seem better. Everyone knew it was going on yet nothing was done about it. Those inflated stats got him a scholarship to a division 1 school only to be cut.

This did no good for the player or the rest of the team in the long run, but for every bust like him, there is a Lebron James who will make millions of dollars one day. The athletes expect it from a young age and live their lives with the expectation of one thing. Entitlement.

 

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