Sick of ‘em

Published 9:38 am Thursday, July 1, 2010

I’m sick of ‘em.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend and fellow columnist David Friedman took time to lay out what would seem like simply guidelines for major sports figures and even the rank-and-file members of the sports world to follow.

They were simple things like staying out of strip clubs at 4 a.m. and things that to normal people would seem obvious. He did so because of the large number of sports figures who seem to always be involved with run-ins with the law.

Well, lo and behold just a few weeks later, there are two headlines on talking about figures in the sports world who were at the very least involved in incidents that led to violence.

Michael Vick is making headlines again after there was a shooting at his birthday party in Virginia Beach, Va. One of his co-defendants in the dog fighting case was shot.

Never mind the fact that Vick isn’t supposed to have contact with any co-defendant. The fact is he was in a place where he likely shouldn’t have been and involved in an incident that again escalated to something illegal.

Joining him on the front page of the sports section is Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson. Long known as the thugs of the NFL, the Bengals seem to have yet another player who is in trouble with the law.

In this case, Benson is charged with assault after allegedly punching a bar employee in the face.

That’s it. You people off my planet or at least off my television.

I’ve had about all I can stand of these spoiled, rich players who think they are above the law and better than the people who pay every week to see them play.

I’m tired of the headlines being more about people who are in trouble with the law than how they played yesterday. It doesn’t make any sense.

I was one of the advocates of the Philadelphia Eagles signing Vick to a contract. He paid his debt to society and deserved the chance to go back to work like anyone else.

Having said that, if he is in any way involved in what happened at that Virginia Beach night club, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has every reason to kick him out of the league permanently.

Honestly, I am coming around to the thinking of some of the people who say “chunk all of them out.” I think it is going to take the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL throwing some of these bums out for good to get their attention.

The conduct code in the NFL is a good step. It seems, however, it is not enough.

I’m not sure what the answer is to get those who take money from us and our children for playing a game to act like they have just a little bit of common sense and an iota of common decency.

I for one am ready to see whatever steps need to be taken to get our professional athletes to have at least the same amount of accountability required by those who play the same game in recreation leagues.

Thadd White is Sports Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached via email at or by telephone at 332-7211.