I spoke about the problems with youth supports at the end of 2014. But sadly, no one is sounding the alarm bells. And yet, the damage continues to proliferate.
- A girls high school basketball coach runs up a 161-2 score and gets suspended, although the school has not been sanctioned in any way whatsoever. Why not suspend the game via mercy rule in order to prevent the opposing players from suffering such an embarrassment?
- The New England Patriots are being investigated for deflating footballs which gives quarterbacks, running backs, and other players a competitive advantage. This is analogous to a pitcher doctoring a baseball or a hitter corking a bat.
- We continue to see a “winning at all costs” mentality in amateur and professional sports. It’s all about “the ends justifying the means” a la Machiavelli.
- While I am not a fan of Ohio State Quarterback Cardele Jones, some in the media criticize his decision to remain at Ohio State and not enter the NFL Draft. The player had a total of 3 college starts but everyone is quick to push this kid into the pros.
What is going on here?
We see a moral hazard in sports – that is, people are trying to game the system. College athletes forget they are students first, yet the big business of sports has shifted priorities. We see young people looking at these athletes and coaches who engage in criminal and unethical behavior, both on the field and off the field, and believe “if they can act that way and not be punished, then I guess it’s acceptable.”
It’s time we all look at ourselves in the mirror. What lessons are we teaching our kids? How do we instill positive coaching philosophies when those in the national spotlight who have the bully pulpit do not believe this to be a major social issue?
I worry about my kids and your kids. I want them to grow up and be responsible, caring, compassionate, ethically-minded adults. But in a world where gaining an edge at all costs and rewarding criminal behavior is the norm, this job gets harder and harder.