Does ‘Sense of Entitlement’ Equal A Lack of Morals? (October 20, 2010)


Lets call a spade a spade. As much as the stories are spun in the best interest of the athlete’s public persona, a majority of the stars these days cheat in at least one sense of the word. Tiger Woods, in his ridiculous excuse for a press conference after Elin caught him, said it best. “I felt I was entitled.” A very simple sentence that carries with it a myriad of questions that are not exactly the easiest to answer. He easily summed up the question of ‘why’ whenever we hear about another sports star “losing his way” either on the field, ie PEDs, or off. The list is long and distinguished with the biggest names in sports making an appearance in some capacity. Thanks to the media being so in tune with the players habits, a story in this day and age is more likely to be a headline, but don’t forget that running around at all hours of the night with a litany of women, drinking until your liver starts yelling at you, or gambling the night away was commonplace in the time of Mantle, Berra, and the like. Times were different, rules were different, and relationships were undoubtedly different.

Since then the public has decided to project sports stars onto an even bigger pedestal than anyone could have imagined, crowning them ‘the great one’, ‘the next one’, or ‘the king’, even before they’ve done a single thing to prove that moniker true. Everyone loves the stars, and if they don’t they act like they do. Entourages surround these players with only one goal, to keep them happy, but what does that entail? It is hard to believe that many big name players have heard the word ‘no’ since they were ten. With all the accolades come bigger paychecks, today’s players make more money than we can fathom. We go as far as to tell them that they are unstoppable, unbeatable, and simply on a different level. But what we forget to inform them is we only mean that superlative in terms of their specific sports skill. It doesn’t mean they are better at life, does it?

They might live a better life, drive a nicer car, and have more expensive things than the common man, but they certainly haven’t aspired so high as to supersede the basic ideologies of society because they can jump from the foul line and dunk a ball, hit 500 foot home runs, skate past the competition, or throw touchdowns at a high percentage. Perhaps the message isn’t being delivered to the players the way it should, or maybe they just simply don’t care anymore, but being a multi-millionaire for playing a sport comes with some stipulations. Through excelling at their craft they have risen to role model status, whether they like it or not. As a child we all had idols, but now it seems that those famous athletes, who were once revered, ushered out a red carpet of privilege that is being trounced on by today’s stars.

Who is it okay to look up to these days, should sports stars be blacklisted? Being lied to and getting the run around from sports celebrities has become the norm, and the topic isn’t specific to one thing anymore. From infidelity to disorderly conduct to the merry-go-round of steroids to countless D.U.I. and assault charges in every sport, it is unfathomable the way players can screw up a good thing. However, are we really able to blame them? They didn’t build the pedestal upon which they stand, we did. They didn’t write the huge paychecks to themselves, or ask for their own autograph any time they see each other. The idea that they are great and that everyone loves them is a belief that they will never accept as anything but fact, and we beat that into their heads.

There are still good men in the sports world for children to look up to, but the numbers are dwindling. But with more and more stars falling by the moral compass wayside it is hard to believe that there is a good role model left. After a scandal of any sort there needs to be a new litmus test for determining if the actions of a player should be forgiven by the masses in order to be reconsidered for role model status in the future, but taking into consideration societies perplexity on deciding what constitutes a forgivable act and what does not, the test will most likely never come.

My advice is this, look up to whomever you want and try to emulate their success on the diamond, court, rink, field, race, etc. However, do not try to mimic them as human beings, and don’t be surprised when they let you down when it comes to life’s basic lessons. Cheaters never prosper…well except in sports.

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